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Former Stewardites as AAS Councilors and Officers

Two former Stewardites, Charles Liu (PhD 1996) and Sally Oey (PhD 1995), and current NOAO staff member Knut Olsen, were elected to American Astronomical Society positions: Sally is a Councilor, Charles is Education Officer, and Knut is on the Nominating Committee. For more information, see HERE.

Thoughts on Going to Europa

THIS article contains a variety of thoughts by Chris Impey on how one might fund a serious mission to Europa. The obvious way, proposing to NASA, is underway, and some LPL folks discuss the new call for proposals HERE. The spaceflightinsider article linked above contains some other thoughts and ideas, namely, private funding.

Photo credit: NASA/JPL


Learning how to Teach a MOOC: A Conversation with University Distinguished Professor Chris Impey

Chris Impey's next Massive Online Open Course is set to begin Feb 15. An article and a Q&A with Chris can be found HERE. While Chris's first MOOC continues, this one has tweaks, such as more videos, quizzes, outside activities and peer-reviewed writing. There are two overarching goals: the first is to teach astronomy to those signed up and have them come away with knowledge and ideas of the richness of what we study; the second is to learn how to do a better job teaching these sorts of very different classes. You can also check out this video link from Chris's Facebook page HERE. The website for the course is HERE, and the Coursera link is HERE. Finally, a recent radio interview with Chris can be found HERE

Mexican Science Delegation and UA-Mexico Astronomy Projects

UA News recently reported HERE on a visit by a Mexican Science Delegation. Steward is collaborating on a 6.5m telescope for San Pedro Martir, Baja, Mexico. One possible plan is for that new telescope and the MMT to coordinate/share instruments. An old UANews article can be found HERE.

Photo credit: UANews.

Former Stewardites Find Huge Ring System Around a Stellar Companion

Steward alumni Matt Kenworthy (postdoc and instrument scientist, now at Leiden Observatory), and Eric Mamajek (PhD 2004, now at Rochester) have found observational evidence for the existence of a giant ring system orbiting an unseen brown dwarf star or exoplanet orbiting the star "J1407" (its proper, formal name is 1SWASP J140747.93-394542.6). The evidence comes from an attempt to model the complex changes in brightness of an eclipse lasting 56 days. If this companion/planet and its ring system were placed at Saturn, the rings would be visible to the naked eye here on Earth, and would be many times larger than our full moon. A best estimate for the mass of the rings is approximately 1 Earth mass, about 100000 times more massive than the rings of the planet Saturn. J1407 is a very young star, and this observation teaches us how the gas and dust out of which stars form change with time and as planets or moons form. The photo is an artist's rendering against a venerable Dutch telescope. The CNN article can be found HERE.
The actual scientific preprint can be found HERE.

Photo Credit: Matt Kenworthy

Don McCarthy Interview in "Lo Que Pasa": Why He Chose the UA

"Lo Que Pasa" recently interviewed University Distinguished Outreach Professor, Dr Don McCarthy of Steward Observatory. This series of interviews asked recently honored professors why they're at the UA. There's a four-minute video HERE. Don is well known for more than two decades of running Astronomy Camp using local telescopes (LINK), and for his presence in the introductory (Gen Ed) classroom and young astronomy majors classroom, and as a faculty fellow in Coconino Hall.

Image Credit: Lo Que Pasa, The University of Arizona


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