Month: May 2016
Reintroducing Andy Rivkin
Andy is a planetary astronomer at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, MD, with his research focusing on the composition of asteroids. In particular, he is interested in those asteroids that have evidence of water or organic materials in them, detectable in their infrared reflectance spectrum. This pursuit has led to studies of asteroids from 1996 FG3, a near-Earth asteroid on which clay minerals has been found, to 24 Themis, an asteroid in the outer belt on which his team found water ice– a first for asteroids. He has had particular interest in the dwarf planet Ceres, producing several papers in the past few years detailing its unusual composition and variation across its surface, as well as writing a focus paper for the Planetary Science Decadal Survey.
In addition to observational work, Andy has been active in the broader near-Earth object community, serving as a team member in several efforts to understand and report the impact hazard we face and how to lessen it, including serving as Investigation Lead for the US portion of the AIDA mission concept and leading a group reporting to NASA about the most important unknown factors related to human exploration of an asteroid. Finally, Andy was the Principal Investigator of the MANTIS mission concept, which aims to conduct an asteroid tour in the 2020s.
The other 51 weeks of the year, you can find Andy at @asrivkin.
Reintroducing Michael Busch
Michael Busch is a research scientist at the SETI Institute. He primarily works on characterizing near-Earth asteroids using radar and radio techniques; using the Arecibo Observatory, the Goldstone Solar System Radar, and other telescopes. Lately, he has focused on both potentially hazardous asteroids and asteroids on orbits that are readily accessible for future space missions.
Michael received bachelor’s degrees in physics and astronomy at the University of Minnesota in 2005, and a PhD in planetary science at Caltech in 2010. He worked as a postdoc at UCLA and at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory before starting at SETI in 2013.
You can find Michael on twitter at
Reintroducing Ángel López-Sánchez
Ángel a Spanish astrophysicist working at the Australian Astronomical Observatory (AAO) and the Department of Physics and Astronomy of the Macquarie University (MQ) in Sydney (Australia). His research is focused in the analysis of star formation phenomena in galaxies of the Local Universe, especially in dwarf starbursts and spiral galaxies. He uses a multiwavelength approach and hence he combines ultraviolet, optical, infrared, and radio data to characterize the physical and chemical properties of galaxies and get a better understanding of the physical processes than govern their nature and evolution.
He has large experience teaching and supporting undergraduate and PhD students and giving lectures and classes about Astronomy. Outreach is a very important part of his work as a scientist. As an active amateur astronomer he enjoys observing the sky with his eyes, binoculars, or small telescopes and taking astronomical images using his own equipment. This webpage contains a large compilation of my images that includes galaxies, nebulae, astronomical observatories, time-lapse videos, and even drawings and photos taken using amateur techniques. The majority of these images are hosted on his Flickr webpage.
Ángel originally from the beautify city of Córdoba (Spain). He got his Physics Degree at the University of Granada in 2000 and his PhD Thesis at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias / La Laguna University (Tenerife, Spain) in 2006. Between 2007 and 2010 he worked at the CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science (Australia Telescope National Facility), obtaining many radio and optical data of galaxies of the Local Volume. Part of his actual job is providing support to the Anglo-Australian Telescope.
He was the first Spanish astronomer hosting a blog only dedicated to Astronomy, El Lobo Rayado (here the English Translation using Google), which was created in early 2004. Since 2011 he also maintain a blog in English, The Lined Wolf, which is focused on publicising his scientific work and outreach activities in Australia. You can also find him on Facebook and Twitter.
Introducing Jennifer Johnson
Dr. Jennifer Johnson is a professor in the Department of Astronomy at Ohio State University. She studies the formation and evolution of the Milky Way and its satellite galaxies and the origin of the elements. Her favorite element is arsenic, followed closely by ytterbium. Jennifer is currently the Spokesperson of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and is particularly involved in the @APOGEEsurvey of the compositions and motions of hundreds of thousands of Milky Way stars. She should really be writing the Data Release 13 paper right now.
Jennifer grew up as a Foreign Service brat in Arlington, Virginia, Prague, Czechoslovakia, Trindid and Tobago, and Bonn, West Germany. She received her B.A. in physics at Carleton College and her Ph.D. in astronomy and astrophysics from UC Santa Cruz. Her PhD with Mike Bolte focused on deriving ages for stars using the radioactive element thorium, and she continues to try and guess the ages and masses of stars. After postdoctoral fellowships at @CarnegieAstro in Pasadena and at the Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics in Victora, British Columbia, Jennifer moved to Columbus, Ohio to join the faculty at Ohio State. She is one of the tweeters from the @sdssurveys and @APOGEEsurvey accounts as well as tweeting personally as @jajohnson51.