Introducing Szilárd Gyalay

Szilárd Gyalay (@sgyalay) is currently a PhD student in the University of California, Santa Cruz’s Earth and Planetary Science department where he studies Saturn’s mid-sized icy moons. Using geophysical techniques, he infers which moons may have oceans beneath their ice shells.

Szilárd earned his bachelor’s at UCLA majoring in astrophysics and minoring in geophysics and planetary physics. There he researched the bulk infrared properties of the moon. In his spare time he rock climbs or plays video games and board games.

Introducing Brian Jackson

I am an assistant professor teaching astronomy in the Physics Department at Boise State University.

Before coming to Boise State, I was a postdoctoral fellow at the Carnegie Institution of Washington’s Dept. of Terrestrial Magnetism in Washington DC and before that, at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt MD.

I earned my PhD in Planetary Science from the University of Arizona‘s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory in Tucson AZ and my BS in Physics from Georgia Tech in Atlanta GA.

My research focuses primarily on orbital dynamics and transit observations of extrasolar planets, planets outside of our solar system. I also do some planetary science field work, notably on Death Valley’s Racetrack Playa and on terrestrial and Martian dust devils.

When I’m not chasing my  daughter around the house, I enjoy running around Boise and learning classical guitar.

Introducing Beth Johnson

Beth Johnson is a graduate student in geology at San Jose State University in California. She is also the social media coordinator for the SETI Institute, where she shares not only the news, outreach, and photographs of the Institute’s work but curates a wide variety of astronomy, space, and planetary news from other sources. Her master’s research may be grounded in submarine volcanoes here on Earth, but she hopes to apply what she learns to cryovolcanoes in our solar system, particularly at Europa and Enceladus. Prior to her graduate studies, she completed her undergraduate work, also at SJSU, in physics with an emphasis in astrophysics. She worked on several research projects at the university, including looking for earthquake precursor signals in MgO and analyzing galactic evolution processes. She spent the summer of 2013 in an internship via CAMPARE (Cal Poly Pomona) at the SETI Institute, where she worked with Dr. Peter Jenniskens on NASA’s Cameras for Allsky Meteor Surveillance project (CAMS). She analyzed the data for numerous meteor tracks and helped find several new meteor showers. She presented posters on her research at both winter and summer AAS conferences in 2014. In her personal life, she is the wife of a Canadian network engineer/hockey player, the mother of an almost-teenager, and the guardian of five cats. She is passionate about science communication and education and can be found on many social media sites as planetarypan. She volunteers with the local Astronomy on Tap group to publicize and help host their monthly events. She recently joined the Weekly Space Hangout Crew and will be a regular on the show starting in October. She has ambitious plans to launch her own Twitch stream later this year.

Introducing Phil Massey

Phil Massey (@MassiveStarGuy) is an observational astronomer at Lowell Observatory, where he joined the staff in 2000.  Before that, he worked at the National Optical Astronomy Observatory, where he was the telescope scientist for the Kitt Peak 4-meter Mayall telescope. At Lowell, he’s served as the principal Investigator for the Large Monolithic Camera, the workhorse imager for Lowell’s 4.2-meter Discovery Channel Telescope.  He is also well-known for his observing and IRAF manuals, which have served as an introduction to optical CCD imaging and spectroscopic reductions for several generations of astronomers.  Phil also enjoys teaching, and teaches the occasional course at neighboring Northern Arizona University, where he serves as an adjunct.
Phil’s research interests include the study of massive stars (O-type, Wolf-Rayet, and red supergiants).  He and his collaborators use the nearby galaxies of the Local Group to study how the evolution of the most luminous and massive stars is affected by environmental factors such as metallicity.  In this work he primarily uses optical photometry and spectroscopy from ground- and space-based telescopes, with occasional forays into the ultraviolet and near infrared.  Paradoxically, Phil hates travel but loves observing from remote mountain tops, particularly Las Campanas Observatory, from which he studies stars in the Magellanic Clouds.
He’s published more than 300 papers, conference proceedings, and abstracts over the years, and hopes to make it to 1000.  He’s privileged to work with some great collaborators, including @KathrynNeugent and @emsque.  He also enjoys hiking and backpacking with his family, particularly in the Grand Canyon.