Introducing Henry Throop

Henry Throop is a planetary astronomer based in Washington, DC. His research focuses on the outer solar system, and he has published over 40 articles in scientific journals, on topics ranging from to rings of Saturn and Jupiter, to planet and star formation, to astrobiology and the origins of life, to searching for (and co-discovering) Pluto’s smallest moon, Styx, in 2012. Throop is member of the science team for NASA’s New Horizons mission, and was involved in its historic flyby of Pluto in 2015 and Ultima Thule in 2019. He received a PhD in Planetary Science from the University of Colorado, in 2000. Throop is a program officer at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC, where he is a program manager for NASA’s planetary research program.

Throop has spent much of his career bringing astronomy to the developing world. While living for eight years in Africa, India, and Mexico, he worked extensively with schools and community groups, helping to develop their science programs and inspire the next generation of leaders. He has presented more than 150 lectures for science festivals, planetariums, school groups, and public events across the world. Throop’s work has been featured in Science, Nature, Time, The Washington Post, and on the History Channel and National Geographic TV, as well as dozens of newspapers from Pakistan to Hungary to Namibia.

Throop’s work has won him broad accolades. In 2017 he was awarded both the US State Department’s Avis Bohlen Award, and the American Astronomical Society’s Carl Sagan Medal, for his work in science communication and outreach to the public. Asteroid “193736 Henrythroop” was named in his honor.


Introducing Sam Frampton

Sam Frampton is a PhD Student at the University of Leicester, and is currently looking at mission concept for small satellites to the outer solar system.

After completing his BSc in Physics at Lancaster University, Sam completed his masters degree in Astronautics and Space Engineering at Cranfield University, where he worked on the proposal for the ‘EnVision’ mission to Venus which is currently being reviewed by ESA. After some time working on telecommunication payloads in Toulouse, Sam started his PhD in September.

Sam will be tweeting about the past and future of mission planning, PhD life, as well as sharing some of his favourite space music!

Introducing Oliver Hall

Oliver Hall (@asteronomer) is a 3rd year PhD student with the Sun, Stars & Exoplanets group at the University of Birmingham in the UK. His work is centered around the use of asteroseismology: the study of sound waves inside stars through variations we see on their surfaces. Asteroseismology is a useful tool that can give us masses and radii of stars, and can be compared to models to discover all kinds of things about stellar interiors.

Oliver is currently studying the synergies between asteroseismology and distances from the Gaia mission for stars observed by the Kepler space telscope, and hopes to soon set his sighs on stars observed by the K2 mission as well. He also participates in collaborations such as TESS Data for Asteroseismology (T’DA), working with an international group of astronomers to prepare high quality lightcurves from brand new data from the TESS space telescope, and has contributed to popular open source code such as lightkurve.

Oliver grew up abroad in Bussum in the Netherlands, before moving back to the UK for his undergraduate degree, also at Birmingham. While waiting for his code to run he can be found on twitter and writing for Astrobites. Outside of research, he loves reading, music, exploring, and pretty much every form of media.

Re-Introducing Abhijeet Borkar

I am Abhijeet Borkar. I spend most of my time studying the supermassive black holes at the centres of galaxies and their interaction with the host galaxy, particularly using radio interferometry techniques. And the rest of the time I am working as a contact scientist at the Czech node of the European ALMA Regional Center. My research interests include the study of Sagittarius A*, the SMBH at the center of the Milky Way; formation and evolution of the SMBH at the centers of galaxies, active galactic nuclei (AGN).

I did my B.Sc. & M.Sc. in Physics from Pune, India after which I went to do PhD at the University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany, as a part of the International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS) at the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy (MPIfR). Since my undergraduate days, I have been involved in science communication and outreach and I am actively engaged in outreach online and offline.

I can be found online @borkarabhijeet on Twitter or @borkarabhijeet05 in many other places.

Introducing Jennifer Grier

Hello Astrofolks! – I’m Dr. Jennifer Grier, a Senior Scientist and Education/Communications Specialist at the Planetary Science Institute (HQ Tucson, AZ).  My formal education is in the sciences, with a B.S. in Astronomy and a Ph.D. in Planetary Sciences, but I also have 25 years of experience working in science education and outreach.  Some science stuff I’ve done: determined the relative ages of lunar rayed craters through optical maturity of ejecta, dated channels on Mars with crater statistics, found the ages of thermal impact events on asteroids by isotopic examination of meteorites, and estimated the time of formation of the Gardnos impact structure on Earth.  Some of my specific education work has included:  partnering with school systems to develop astronomy curricula, working with science museums to verify exhibit content, professional development workshops for teachers and scientists in education and outreach, and also teaching online/university/community college classes.  My current interests include inclusion and equity in STEM careers, the ethics of space exploration, and mental health/disability issues in the sciences.  If not doing those things then I’m doing creative writing, such as poetry, essays, fiction, articles and more – my works in progress include a collection of creepy childhood horror poems and a space opera novel trilogy.  And that book of essays about the alchemy of science and writing …
You can find my musings and other info in various places like:

Introducing Cesare Grava

I am a Research Scientist at Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas. I got both my master’s degree and my PhD in Astronomy at the University of Padua, Italy, where Galileo discovered the Jovian moons and ushered the modern era of astronomy, with a thesis on (among other objects)… Io, one of the Galilean moons. I study the exospheres of airless bodies in the Solar System: the Moon, Io, Mercury… you name it. I combine Monte Carlo modeling with data analysis (spectroscopy), with data taken both from the ground and from space. I am deputy project scientist of LAMP, UV spectrograph on board the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, and I am on the team of Strofio, a mass spectrometer that is currently en route to Mercury on BepiColombo. You can find me on twitter at @cesaregrava

Besides astronomy (especially planetary science), my passions are (in no particular order): movies (including some blockbusters), geography, traveling, hiking, Queen, and photography.


Introducing Paul Byrne

Paul Byrne (@ThePlanetaryGuy) is Assistant Professor of Planetary Science at North Carolina State University. He graduated with a Ph.D. in planetary geology from Trinity College Dublin in 2010 and participated in the MESSENGER mission as a postdoctoral fellow from 2011 to 2015 at the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Terrestrial Magnetism and the Lunar and Planetary Institute. Through a combination of remotely sensed data, physical and numerical modeling, and fieldwork at analog sites, his research focuses on the links between surface and interior processes on rocky and icy bodies in this solar System and beyond.