Introducing Tyler Nordgren

Tyler Nordgren is a Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Redlands. For over a decade he has worked with the National Park Service to turn the national parks into the single largest source for public science and astronomy education in the world. His popular science book “Stars Above, Earth Below: A guide to astronomy in the national parks,” reveals what visitors to America’s national parks can observe in their dark night skies. For the upcoming 2017 eclipse he is helping the NPS prepare a campaign of “Go for the Sun, Stay for the Stars.” His newest book, “SUN MOON EARTH: The History of Solar Eclipses from Omens of Doom to Einstein and Exoplanets,” released in 2016 to excellent reviews, describes the vast array of social and scientific influences eclipses have had throughout history. Many of the color illustrations in this and his previous books include vintage-style “travel posters” he designed to help the public learn about and see the astronomical wonders in the sky – ranging from solar eclipses to the Milky Way and geologic features similar to those found on other worlds. In 2012, NASA’s Curiosity rover joined Spirit and Opportunity on Mars, each carrying sundials, or “Marsdials” which he helped design through his science and art. Dr. Nordgren gives public talks and multimedia programs across the country about what every American can expect to experience for this year’s All-American total solar eclipse. This will be his fourth total solar eclipse, his first, in 1979 at the age of nine, was the last total solar eclipse to be visible from the continental United States.

Introducing Jessie Christiansen

Dr. Jessie Christiansen is a staff scientist at the NASA Exoplanet Science Institute at Caltech. She searches for, studies, and catalogues extrasolar planets – planets orbiting other stars. Her main research focuses on using the thousands of exoplanets found by the NASA Kepler mission to determine how common planets similar to the Earth might be throughout the Galaxy, and preparing to do the same with TESS. 

Introducing Ward Howard

Ward Howard is a PhD candidate in physics and astronomy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He researches the impact of stellar activity on the detection and habitability of exoplanets around nearby stars by measuring their optical flare rates and energies using data from the Evryscope, an ultra-wide survey of the entire visible sky every two minutes. The Evryscope has produced millions of high-cadence, multi-year stellar light-curves making feasible the long-term monitoring of nearby stars for superflares, flare rates, and starspot activity. He also works with Robo-AO, the first autonomous laser guide-star adaptive optics system, improving image quality for faint targets, particularly for follow-up of the faintest Kepler planetary candidates.

Ward grew up in High Point, NC and was initially inspired to study astronomy by the friendly and enthusiastic staff of the Jamestown, NC Cline Observatory. In 2015, Ward received a BS in physics and mathematics from Union University in Jackson, TN. As an REU student at Baylor’s Center for Astrophysics, Space Physics, and Engineering Research, he studied protoplanetary disk evolution. He enjoys good books (esp. science fiction and fantasy), coffee, physics outreach, and running/hiking.

Introducing Sara Mazrouei

Sara Mazrouei is a PhD candidate in planetary geology at the University of Toronto. Her thesis focuses on the cratering rate on the Moon. She is a science team member on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter’s Diviner team. Sara received her MSc. from York University, where she studied rocks on asteroid Itokawa using data from the Japanese Hayabusa mission. In between her master’s and PhD studies, Sara worked at the European Space Agency, calibrating radio science data from the Venus Express.

Introducing Simon Porter

Simon Porter (@ascendingnode) is a Research Scientist at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado. He is a Co-Investigator on NASA’s New Horizons extended mission to encounter the cold classical Kuiper Belt Object (KBO) 2014 MU69. On the mission, he focuses on the small satellites of Pluto, determining the orbit of 2014 MU69, and the other KBOs that New Horizons is passing along the way. This summer, he is supporting the stellar occultations of MU69s, in South Africa, aboard SOFIA, and in Patagonia. In addition to mission work, he studies the orbital and tidal dynamics of other binary and triple KBOs and Centaurs.

Simon is originally from Burlington, Ontario, Canada, and grew up there, Oxfordshire, and Tennessee. He received a BS in Physics from the University of Alabama in Huntsville, and was a undergrad Space Grant intern at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He received his PhD in Astrophysics from the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University, and was a Predoctoral Fellow at Lowell Observatory. Simon enjoys hiking, aerospace history, and identifying obscure aircraft/rockets/spacecraft.

Introducing Nathalie Ouellette

Dr. Nathalie Ouellette is currently a Research Associate with the Department of Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy at Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada. Born and raised in Montreal, Canada, she graduated from McGill University’s Honours Physics program in 2010 before starting her graduate studies at Queen’s where she obtained her Ph.D. in 2016. Her main research interests are galaxy formation, evolution, dynamics, and scaling relations especially in the Virgo Cluster. She is a key member of the Spectroscopy and H-band Imaging of Virgo (SHIVir) team, and the PI of its spectroscopic component. She’s had the honour and pleasure of travelling to the Apache Point Observatory (Sunspot, New Mexico) and the Very Large Telescope (Paranal, Chile) to collect spectroscopic data firsthand for the program to determine the kinematics of Virgo galaxies and tie these into scaling relations.
Dr. Ouellette developed a passion for science communication and outreach early on during her undergrad, and knew she wanted to make it an integral part of her career moving forward. She managed the Queen’s Observatory for nearly 6 years and led the Queen’s Astronomy Research Group’s outreach efforts during her graduate studies, and only fell more in love with talking to people about how incredibly awesome astronomy is. She’s a frequent contributor in the media on astronomy news and enjoys bringing her love of space to people everywhere from classrooms to science festivals to conferences. Making science accessible to anyone and everyone is one of her main goals. You’ll find her slightly off-kilter sense of humour peppered throughout her website: http://www.astropanda.space.
She has a wonderful husband and together, they have a dog named Epsilon. In her free time, you’ll most likely find her hanging precariously off a rock climbing wall, forcing her husband to watch really awful movies, or painting some nebulae for her family

Introducing Karen Masters

Dr. Karen Masters (@KarenLMasters) is a Reader in Astronomy and Astrophysics at the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation, University of Portsmouth. Her research interests are in the area of extragalactic astronomy typically using data from large surveys. She is the Spokesperson for the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS-IV; @sdssurveys), a job which involves maintaining the scientific collaboration, working on press releases and co-ordinating the SDSS Data Release paper among other things. Karen regularly observes with the Green Bank Telescope at 21cm to measure the neutral hydrogen content of galaxies in the SDSS-IV MaNGA (Mapping Nearby Galaxies at APO; @MaNGAsurvey) survey sample. She is also the Project Scientist for Galaxy Zoo (@galaxyzoo) and often uses information on galaxy shapes and types collected from this citizen science project in her research.

Dr. Masters is a passionate advocate for the use of citizen science in research, and the benefits this brings to both researchers and the members of the public who participate. She has published numerous papers making use of Galaxy Zoo classifications, and has also investigate the scientific learning which happens when people engage with citizen science projects.

Dr. Masters grew up in the Midlands of the UK, was state-school educated and went on to read Physics at Oxford (Wadham College) where she graduated top of the BA class in 2000. She moved to the US to study for a PhD in Astronomy at Cornell University, and spent 3 years working as a researcher at the Harvard College Observatory before moving back to the UK in 2008. In 2014 she had the honour of being named the British “Women of the Future” for Science, as well as being listed as of the BBC’s “100 Women”. She is married to a fellow academic and is the mother of two young children.