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ASTR Major Wins Data Visualization Challenge

We are happy to announce that undergraduate Asronomy Major Tintin Nguyen was awarded First Place ($250) in the UA's 2021 Data Visualization Challenge. "The Challenge highlights the power of communicating through graphical representations of data and provides students the opportunity to showcase their skills and network with the greater data visualization community."

Undergraduate and graduate students from different disciplines were invited to submit visual displays of data to tell stories. This is the second year that the Libraries’ Office of Digital Innovation & Stewardship (ODIS) has sponsored the event. View the winning entries and access the digital collection.

Abstract of Tintin's project: The Law of Large Numbers and the Central Limit Theorem are two of the most fundamental and elegant theorems in Probability Theory. However, these concepts are impractical to demonstrate because they require an immense number of trials to observe the long-term behaviors of random variables. Therefore, this case study runs computer simulations on coin tossing as an intuitive example to explain these statistical concepts. The visualizations provide insights into the theorems without mathematically rigorous proofs, making them accessible for introductory statistics learners.

Second place: Melanie Gin, Information Science & eSociety and Computer Science
Third place: Ashwin Raj, Mathematics
Honorable mention: Torin Hodge, Biosystems Engineering
(thanks to Don McCarthy for the text)

Three Upcoming Public Talks

The Dept. of Astronomy and Steward Observatory is hosting three talks in April.

The final, upcoming public talk for April, to be given in Spanish, is by Prof. Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz, UC Santa Cruz, on April 26, at 7:30pm. The Youtube link for this upcoming talk is HERE. The Flyer, in Spanish, is HERE.

The other two events have passed but you can watch the archived talks at the links below:

The first, on April 5, at 7:30pm MST (note that Arizona does not keep  Daylight Saving Time) is by Dr Kevin Wagner, entitled "Imaging New Worlds in the Alpha Centauri System." The Zoom address of the archived talk is HERE

The second, on April 12, at 7:30pm MST on Zoom (archived talk video is HERE) is by Professor Chris Impey. It's the 60th anniversary of the first manned spaceflight: Chris's talk is entitled: "Our Future in Space." You can see the talk flyer HERE.


TIMESTEP Tech Internship

The TIMESTEP Internship offers UA majors in Astronomy, Physics and Math the opportunity to gain valuable industry experience prior to graduation. This article details the experiences of one intern, UA astronomy and physics major Elizabeth Champagne, and her supervisors at ELE Optics, a UA FORGE partner. TIMESTEP is currently looking for industry partners for the Summer 2021 program and student applications will be due March 31, 2021. Details can be found HERE

GMT Mirror #6 Casting

Here is a live-streaming link for the high-temperature portion of the casting of GMT Mirror #6 (Saturday March 6 from 1:30pm MST to 2:30pm MST).

We are virtually celebrating the creation of the sixth segment of the Giant Magellan Telescope’s primary mirror array during the High Fire phase. This casting of an 8.4-meter telescope mirror is a major milestone moment in the engineering process.  This one-of-a-kind instrument will allow astronomers to solve some of the mysteries of the Universe.

When completed the Giant Magellan Telescope will be the largest and most powerful telescope in the world. The casting process uses an oven 40 feet in diameter to heat up 20 tons of glass to 2129° F. This unique fabrication process results in a lightweight honeycomb glass structure.

Here at the University of Arizona we are celebrating the achievement of this milestone. The Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab is the only place in the world where mirrors of this size are produced

The process is fascinating and you will have access to learn more and ask questions on Saturday March 6, 2021 from 1:30 - 2:30 pm MST.

This virtual event is being hosted by the Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter, where we engage people of all ages in the process of scientific exploration as we foster a deeper understanding of our Earth within the Universe.

NASA’s Exoplanet Hunter Telescope Spies Powerful Winds and Jet Stream System in the Closest Brown Dwarfs

Brown dwarfs are excellent and easier-to-study analogs of giant exoplanets. Hiding just two parsecs (6 or 7 light years, or 1.5 times the distance of the nearest star) from the Sun are two cool brown dwarfs that form the Luhman 16AB binary system (discovered by Kevin Luhman, a 1998 PhD of our Astronomy program). Studies of these systems can help understand how giant exoplanets look, unraveling their climates, wind patterns, and atmospheric dynamics. No telescope, however, is powerful enough to take detailed images of the disks of brown dwarfs to find out whether they are dominated by localized storms (vortices) or by a global jet stream system.

Steward Observatory and Lunar and Planetary Laboratory Associate Professor Daniel Apai and his team used a novel approach to deduce the atmospheric properties of Luhman 16B. With the help of NASA’s TESS exoplanet hunter telescope, they observed how the brown dwarf’s brightness changes over a hundred rotations. These changes — and the analysis of their periodicity — revealed that Luhman 16B is home to powerful winds and an exciting and complex jet stream system.

This figure shows the main results of the story. This Youtube video also summarizes the data and results. The University of Arizona press release can be found HERE. The journal paper (may need a subscription) can be found HERE.


Free Zoom Backgrounds from Mt. Lemmon Sky Center Photos

Mount Lemmon Sky Center invites Stewardites and the Public to use some of their astronomical photos as backgrounds for your Desktop, or for Zoom, Google Meet or other such virtual meeting platforms. You can see the choices (both regular and mirrored) HERE
Thanks to Alan Strauss, MLSC, and observers and data processers.  





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