Introducing Jay Strader

Jay is an assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Michigan State University. Recently his research has centered around compact binaries in the Milky Way, especially searches for accreting black holes in globular clusters. His interests also include the distribution of dark matter around galaxies, the formation of stellar halos, and the initial mass function of stars in massive star clusters.
From 2007-2012 he was a Hubble Fellow and Menzel Fellow at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. He earned his BS in Physics and Mathematics at Duke University, and his PhD at the University of California-Santa Cruz. As his Twitter biography says (@caprastro), he loves “goats, birds, the Celtics, and globular clusters”.

Introducing Demitri Muna

I am excited to be hosting week two (19-25 Jan 2014) of Astrotweeps! I am an astrophysicist who works on the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) at Ohio State University. SDSS was responsible for producing the largest color image of the sky ever made – a trillion pixels that would require half a million HDTVs to display. But that’s old news – the current phase of the survey has collected over a million spectra of stars and galaxies. A spectrum is a measurement where the light is split into different wavelengths, like that you would see through a prism. My current research interest is using this data to learn how galaxies evolve over time and even the histories of individual galaxies. I am also interested in the data science aspect of research; how we as astronomers can analyze and do science with far more data than we’ve ever had access to. It’s a good problem to have, but not a solved one. I’m also a contributor to the Astropy project. I am also interested in public outreach and run a chapter of Astronomy On Tap. In a prior life, I worked on a dark matter experiment called DRIFT, located 1.1km underground in a working mine that is a stone’s throw from where Dracula landed in England. I also curl.

I look forward to your questions on galaxy evolution, dark matter, curling, or anything else you’d like to hear about! Send questions to @astrotweeps or as a comment on this blog post. After this week, you can follow me on Twitter at @demitrimuna and @scicoder.