Introducing Esther Hanko

Esther Hanko (@EstherHanko) is the local outreach coordinator of the Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy of the UvA in Amsterdam, NL. She’s had an unconventional career path. After earning a master’s degree in Linguistics, she decided that an academic career was not for her and started working as a Linux system engineer in 2006. She worked for big companies like KLM (the Royal Dutch Airlines) but in 2015, she decided it was time for a change and started working for the API.

At the API, she organizes visits to the observatory. She also maintains much of the API website contents and the institute’s social media (@uva_api). One of her main goals is developing new audiences and finding ways to reach them. Another part of her job is maintenance of the observatory telescopes, working closely with a master student, in order to keep the students’ observing projects running smoothly.

She has been an amateur astronomer since 2012, after seeing an image of Io casting its shadow on Jupiter and realizing that she was now a grown up and could actually just buy herself a telescope. She also dabbles in no-telescope astrophotography, and shares her work online. She loves to write about her astronomy adventures and blogs about it in Dutch on her website oetie.nl. In her spare time, she is one of the moderators on the Dutch astronomy forum astroforum.nl, where one of her tasks is to help pick and write about the “Object of the Month”, a shared observing challenge.

She is passionate about creating awareness about light pollution, promoting the art of astronomical sketching, and teaching anyone who will listen to her that the skies are closer than you think.

Advertisements

Introducing John Noonan

John Noonan (@J_Noons) is a graduate student at the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory in Tucson, Arizona. For the last three and a half years he has worked on the European Space Agency Rosetta mission during its rendezvous and escort of the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. More specifically, John works on the spacecraft’s ultraviolet spectrograph, Alice. Comets are typically thought of as some of the least altered objects from the beginning of the solar system, and their study helps bring planetary scientists as close as possible to this mysterious time. The ultraviolet realm of the electromagnetic spectrum is particularly useful for studying atomic and small molecular abundances, which is ideal for figuring out the formation location and thermal history of a comet.

John lived the vast majority of his life in the mountains of Colorado before moving to Boulder, Colorado to study Integrative Physiology at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Quickly after attending his first microbiology class he changed his major to astrophysics and graduated in 2016 summa cum laude. After graduation John continued to work on the Rosetta mission as well as a flight controller for NASA’s CYGNSS mission at the Southwest Research Institute. John moved to Tucson in August 2017 to begin his Ph.D. at the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory. You can find John riding his bike the vast majority of the time, which he finds to be the best stress therapy around.

Introducing James Davenport

James Davenport (@jradavenport) is a NSF Astronomy & Astrophysics postdoctoral fellow at Western Washington University, and a research fellow at the University of Washington’s new DIRAC Institute. His research is focused on stars, magnetic activity, flares, and starspots. He primarily uses data from the NASA Kepler and K2 missions, and is currently working on projects involving upcoming data releases from Gaia and ZTF.
For the past 5 years, Davenport has run a demographics survey of the annual AAS meetings that studies the gender dynamics of conference talks and Q/A periods. This work has found that men ask nearly twice as many talks as women in conference settings. However, the study is currently looking at ways to help level the playing field for all conference attendees. See this link for more details. (http://jradavenport.github.io/gender_study/)
Davenport currently maintains a monthly newsletter highlighting the latest in academic SETI research (http://seti.news), and is the author of the data, science, and visualization blog If We Assume (http://www.ifweassume.com). He earned his PhD from the University of Washington in 2015.

Introducing Stephanie Juneau

Stephanie Juneau is an associate astronomer at NOAO (National Optical Astronomy Observatory) headquartered in Tucson AZ. After growing up in Quebec, Canada, she moved to the United States to pursue a PhD in astronomy at the University of Arizona, studying the connection between supermassive black holes and their host galaxies across cosmic time. Following her PhD, she moved to Paris in France to work at CEA-Saclay (Commissariat de l’Energie Atomique). She spent the first year as a postdoc and then transitioned to a staff position at the same institute for a total of about 5 years in France. Despite excellent cheese and wine, she then moved back to Tucson, AZ and joined NOAO and her current position in 2016. Stephanie’s work continues to focus on unveiling the history of giant black holes and galaxies, but with a new twist combining data science and astronomy as part of the NOAO Data Lab (datalab.noao.edu). Ongoing and upcoming large samples of several millions of galaxies have inspired her to put the black hole-galaxy question in the larger context by considering the large-scale structures of the universe. She is a member of the DESI (Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument) and Euclid projects, which will allow us to make the most comprehensive 3D maps of the Universe by measuring distances to tens-to-hundreds of galaxies and quasars, and thus reveal clues about Dark Energy and other cosmological quantities.

Besides work and a few astronomy outreach projects, Stephanie likes to stay active with rockclimbing, hiking, camping (living in Arizona may not be a coincidence), and also enjoys visual arts such as painting, drawing, and engraving. She dreams of combining her scientific and artistic interests more closely. She will talk about black holes, galaxies, large galaxy surveys including the challenges that come with conducting and distributing them, and how to put it all together in the big picture. There are also two outreach events coming up this week so Tweeps will get a tour behind the scene as she prepares to inspire teenagers, and the general public.

is an associate astronomer at NOAO (National Optical Astronomy Observatory) headquartered in Tucson AZ. After growing up in Quebec, Canada, she moved to the United States to pursue a PhD in astronomy at the University of Arizona, studying the connection between supermassive black holes and their host galaxies across cosmic time. Following her PhD, she moved to Paris in France to work at CEA-Saclay (Commissariat de l’Energie Atomique). She spent the first year as a postdoc and then transitioned to a staff position at the same institute for a total of about 5 years in France. Despite excellent cheese and wine, she then moved back to Tucson, AZ and joined NOAO and her current position in 2016. Stephanie’s work continues to focus on unveiling the history of giant black holes and galaxies, but with a new twist combining data science and astronomy as part of the NOAO Data Lab (datalab.noao.edu). Ongoing and upcoming large samples of several millions of galaxies have inspired her to put the black hole-galaxy question in the larger context by considering the large-scale structures of the universe. She is a member of the DESI (Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument) and Euclid projects, which will allow us to make the most comprehensive 3D maps of the Universe by measuring distances to tens-to-hundreds of galaxies and quasars, and thus reveal clues about Dark Energy and other cosmological quantities.

Besides work and a few astronomy outreach projects, Stephanie likes to stay active with rockclimbing, hiking, camping (living in Arizona may not be a coincidence), and also enjoys visual arts such as painting, drawing, and engraving. She dreams of combining her scientific and artistic interests more closely. She will talk about black holes, galaxies, large galaxy surveys including the challenges that come with conducting and distributing them, and how to put it all together in the big picture. There are also two outreach events coming up this week so Tweeps will get a tour behind the scene as she prepares to inspire teenagers, and the general public.

Introducing Christa Van Laerhoven

Christa is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of British Columbia
(UBC). She’s from a small town just a couple hours east of Vancouver,
BC. She did her Bachelors in Physics and Astronomy at UBC, then did
her PhD in Planetary Sciences at the University of Arizona. She does
orbital dynamics, or, as she likes to call it “orbital shenanigans.”
She investigates how orbits change over long periods of time and how
that can be used to tease out interesting things about a planetary
system. In particular, she is interested in what the Kuiper Belt can
tell us about the history of our Solar System, and in how planetary
systems go unstable (or avoid going unstable). In her spare time she
works with the Yukon Center of the Royal Astronomical Society of
Canada (rasc.ca). As a result of that collaboration, this week she
will be on a flight to see the Aurora Borealis.

Christa tweets as @K04PB2B. Her twitter handle is the Minor Planet
Center (MPC) packed designation for the Kuiper Belt object 2004 PB112,
which orbits 4 times in the time it takes Neptune to orbit 27 times.

Introducing Coel Hellier

Coel Hellier is a Professor of Astrophysics at Keele University in the UK, working on extrasolar planets.   After undergraduate study at the University of Oxford and a PhD at University College London he was then a Hubble Fellow at the University of Texas at Austin before moving to Keele.

In 2004 Keele joined the WASP consortium (Wide Angle Search for Planets) to search for transiting exoplanets.  Professor Hellier leads the team which built and now operates the WASP-South camera array, hosted at the South African Astronomical Observatory. Over the last decade WASP has become the most productive of the ground-based transit searches with over 140 discoveries, including many that are prime targets for characterisation with the Hubble Space Telescope and the imminent James Webb Space Telescope.

Coel posts about exoplanets at https://wasp-planets.net/ and tweets as @WASPplanets.

Introducing Bella Boulderstone

Bella Boulderstone is a PhD student currently working in the University of Southampton. She works on Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN) and their dusty tori. She graduated from Lancaster University in 2014 with an MPhys in physics with particle physics and cosmology. She decided after that she liked doing degrees so much she’d get another master’s so studied at Queen Mary University of London and got an MSc in astrophysics a year later. Bella’s first master’s project was working on Dark Matter Halos of galaxies and their density profiles and her second was working on the orbital evolution of Triton (Neptune’s largest moon), she also has a soft spot for magnetospheric physics in the Solar System.

Bella is a dual UK/US national and therefore enjoys both American Football and Cricket. She enjoys listening to podcasts and considers herself a feminist. She tries to do a lot of outreach because it reminds her why she likes doing what she does.