Introducing Doug Burke

This week features Doug Burke.Doug is a Research Astronomer at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO),  which is co-located with the Harvard College Observatory (HCO), forming the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA). Not content with this barrage of names, his position allows him to add that he is a member of the Science Data Systems (SDS) team of the Chandra X-ray Center (CXC). What this barrage of Three-Letter Acronyms (TLA) means is that most of his time is spent on helping Scientists analyze data taken by the Chandra X-ray satellite, one of NASA’s four Great Observatories.

When not helping others, Doug’s research interests are in using Galaxy Clusters to study the structure and evolution of the Universe; using computers to better help us with all this data we find ourselves with (in particular, in how Open Science, semantic technologies, machine learning, functional programming, and other buzz words can help); and exploring how Astronomers use Twitter, in particular at the American Astronomical Society meetings.

Doug tweets at @doug_burke, google plusses at, has code on both GitHub and BitBucket , occasionally shares data on FigShare, likes the Oxford
comma, and is currently wondering why he agreed to do this the same week as he’s madly preparing Halloween decorations for his kids.

Introducing Roy Kilgard

This week features Roy Kilgard. Roy is a research professor of astronomy at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. His job is multi-faceted, involving teaching, research, outreach, telescope maintenance, and student mentoring. Most recently it has also involved restoration of a 100-year-old refracting telescope, a task for which his background in high energy astrophysics has left him woefully unprepared.

Roy’s research focuses on X-ray binary stars in nearby galaxies, especially those that harbor stellar-mass and (maybe) intermediate mass black holes. His work relies primarily on the Chandra X-ray Observatory, and has been featured in several Chandra press releases ( and When not working on black holes, he lectures about astronomy in science fiction and pop culture. Roy normally tweets at @rkilgard.

Introducing Amanda Bauer

This week features  Amanda Bauer.  Amanda is a research astronomer and outreach officer at the Australian Astronomical Observatory (AAO) based in Sydney, Australia. She started this 50/50 role one year ago and is still exploring how to maximise both research and science communication without working WAY too much!

Her research explores variations in how galaxies form, how they live their lives, and how they evolve into the diverse array of galaxy species we see today.  She uses surveys with thousands or hundreds of thousands of galaxies, like GAMA and the SAMI Galaxy Survey, to investigate what physical processes regulate star formation inside galaxies that live in different cosmic environments.

Her passion for science communication through her personal @astropixie account has lead to her ability to do this as 50% of her official job. As the first outreach officer at the AAO, she is developing a strategy to capture and communicate the excitement of new astronomical discoveries and innovative engineering feats occurring within the AAO and the astronomical community.

Introducing Edward Gomez

This week features Edward Gomez. Edward is the education director for Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network. As part of this role, he is making a telescope control web interface for education observing programmes run by LCOGT and its partners. He is interested in making innovative ways for people to use LCOGT’s robotic telescopes for education and science communication. His research interests are in stellar winds and Near Earth Objects. Edward normally tweets at @zemogle.