Union Astronomers Present at 2010 American Astronomical Society Meeting in Washington DC

Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy Rebecca Koopmann, ’89, and Physics major Katelyn O’Brien, ’11, traveled to the annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Washington, D.C., Jan 5-7, to present the results of their research on the gas properties of galaxies, as traced by radio observations at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. O’Brien presented a poster with Union co-authors SreyNoch Chin, ’12 and Schuyler Smith entitled “ALFALFA HI Observations Of The NGC 5846 Galaxy Group,” reporting the gas properties of galaxies located in an intermediate density region of the ALFALFA survey area.

Koopmann presented two posters. “ALFALFA HI Content and Star Formation of Early-type Dwarfs in The Virgo Cluster,” with coauthors R. Giovanelli & M. P. Haynes of Cornell University, B. R. Kent of the National Radio Astronomy Observatories, and N. Brosch of Wise Observatory and Tel Aviv University, describes Koopmann’s work on gas and star formation in low-mass galaxies in a dense environment. Koopmann’s second poster “The Undergraduate ALFALFA Team” with coauthors S. Higdon of Georgia Southern University, T. J. Balonek of Colgate University and M. P. Haynes and R. Giovanelli of Cornell University reported results from the first two years of the NSF-sponsored grant program that encourages undergraduate activities within the ALFALFA program. More than 50 undergraduates across the United States have participated so far. Activities include annual workshops (organized by Koopmann) and observing runs at Arecibo Observatory as well as summer and academic year research programs.