Kaitlyn O’Brien ’11 traveled with her advisor, Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy Rebecca Koopmann, to the second annual NSF-sponsored ALFALFA (Arecibo Legacy Fast ALFA) Undergraduate Team Workshop at Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico recently. O’Brien joined 18 undergraduate students from 14 colleges and universities across the United States to learn about radio astronomy, observing at Arecibo Observatory, and applications to the study of other galaxies.
The ALFALFA project uses the Arecibo telescope, the world’s largest, to search for radio emission by hydrogen gas in other galaxies. For her sophomore project, O’Brien is researching a concentration of galaxies within the ALFALFA survey area to determine which galaxies are gravitationally associated and how their proximity has influenced their evolution. The undergraduate student workshop was made possible by an NSF grant to Union, and was organized by Koopmann and collaborators at Arecibo Observatory, Cornell University, and other institutions.
(See also the Union college Chronicle)