Introducing Heidi Thiemann

Heidi Thiemann (@heidi_teaman) is a PhD student in astronomy at The Open University in Milton Keynes. Her research focuses on the creation of catalogue of rotatationally modulated stars with an X-ray counterpart (aka stars with star spots) in the SuperWASP All Sky Survey and the XMM-Newton catalogue. Through machine learning, she will use such stars to study the relationship between the rotation period and X-ray activity of stars, which may be able to tell us more about exoplanetary atmospheres and habitability.
Before her PhD, Heidi did an MPhys in Physics with Space Science and Technology at the University of Leicester, and blames a family friend for getting her interested in astronomy at the age of 11.
Outside of research, she co-runs a space-themed careers website for young people (@spacecareersuk), and is a senior mentor at Space School UK. To escape from astronomy, Heidi spends her time running, baking, attempting to learn Japanese, and wishing she could spend her entire PhD stipend on learning to fly.
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Introducing Mia de los Reyes

Mia de los Reyes (@MiaDoesAstro) just finished her first year of the PhD program in astronomy at Caltech! Mia’s research mostly focuses on nearby galaxies—how they form stars, and the chemical compositions of those stars. She’s currently working on measuring manganese in dwarf galaxies near the Milky Way, which can tell us about the physics of some of the supernovae that exploded in these galaxies. Before escaping to sunny California, she did her undergrad in physics and math at North Carolina State University and spent a year doing an MPhil degree at the University of Cambridge.
Mia is also passionate about science-related things other than research, including: equity and inclusion in science, science policy, and science outreach. As part of her unending campaign to get people to care about galaxies, she writes for Astrobites (@astrobites). Perhaps even more importantly, Mia also cares about rock climbing, literally anything related to Tolkien, and finding and consuming free food.

(Re)introducing 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 all over the inner solar system, from dwarf planets to objects that can fit inside a sports stadium.

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 DART mission scheduled to conduct a planetary defense demonstration in 2022. Finally, Andy is the Principal Investigator of the MANTIS mission concept, which if selected by NASA will conduct an asteroid tour in the 2020s.

The other 51 weeks of the year, you can find Andy at @asrivkin.

Introducing Saramoira Shields

Saramoira Shields (@mathematigal) is an engineer working for the Space Systems Design Studio at Cornell University. The SSDS is a multifaceted research lab, with active projects in small-scale satellite design, rover design, interstellar and inter-orbit navigation, flux pinning and and non-contact actuation. Previously, she has worked for the Cornell High-Energy Synchrotron Source, as well as for the Cornell Astronomy Instrumentation Group, on the ARCoIRIS ad ZEUS-2 spectrographs. She started out in pure mathematics, and still noodles around in it from time to time. She also loves ultramarathoning, distance hiking, dragon boating and spending quality time with her two cats, Parsec and Ligo.

Introducing Charlotte Angus

Charlotte Angus (@c_r_angus) is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Southampton, where she works on supernovae found within the Dark Energy Survey (@theDESSurvey). In particular, she is interested in Superluminous Supernovae, a rare class of supernovae that are extremely bright – around 10 to 100 times brighter than “normal” supernovae, and are visible for months at a time. The sheer amount of energy required to drive these luminous explosions has begun to challenge supernova models and our curruent understanding of their underlying physics. Charlotte hopes to shed some light on these brilliant explosions by studying the properties of the supernovae themselves, and also the properties of the galaxies from which they originate. This may provide a better picture of what type of stars make these transients, and how they exploded.
Charlotte has been slowly migrating to warmer climates throughout her academic career, first obtaining her MPhys at the University of Sheffield in 2013, then moving to the midlands to complete her PhD at the University of Warwick in 2017, and now she resides in sunny Southampton! Although she’s still a yorkshire girl at heart, occasionally forgetting to use “the” in conversation. Outside of research, Charlotte enjoys long distance running and triathlon, fuelled by the insane amount of cakes she bakes between races.

Introducing Harriet Brettle

Harriet Brettle is a Planetary Sciences graduate student at the California Institute of Technology. She is the Strategic Partnerships Team coordinator of the Space Generation Advisory Council, supporting its mission to represent students and young professionals to the United Nations, space agencies, industry, and academia. Harriet has a keen interest in public engagement with space science, interactions between different fields relevant to space exploration, and the future of new space economy. 

(Re)Introducing Michele Bannister

Dr Michele Bannister (@astrokiwi) is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow and Director’s Outreach Fellow at Queen’s University Belfast, United Kingdom. An expert in the discovery and characterization of minor planets in the Solar System, she has been involved in the discovery of more than eight hundred new minor planets that orbit beyond Neptune. Originally from New Zealand, Bannister has worked at institutes in Australia, the US, and Canada. She was honoured in 2017 by the International Astronomical Union with asteroid (10463) Bannister.