OSIRIS-REx is NASA’s New-Frontiers-class mission to visit a primitive asteroid and return a sample of it to Earth. Read about some of the UCF faculty and students who are involved with this exciting mission. The spacecraft is scheduled to launch from KSC on September 8.
Our graduate student, Jenna Crowell, has won the Best Student Poster Competition in the Planetary Science section at the recent Asia Oceania Geosciences Society annual conference, held in Beijing. Congratulations Jenna! She presented her research on thermophysical modeling of near-Earth asteroid 1627 Ivar.
Congratulations to our grad student expert on Saturn’s rings who successfully defended her dissertaiton in December. Tracy is now starting a postdoc at the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in San Antonio, TX.
Our two resident grad student exoplanet experts have successfully defended their dissertations and have left us for postdocs. Patricio is now in the planetary department at the University of Graz, Austria, and Jasmina is now in Abu Dhabi working at NYU’s campus there.
Kelsey Hargrove, has successfully defended her PhD dissertation on near- and mid-IR characterization of primitive asteroids. Congratulations Dr. Hargrove!
The 46th Meeting of the Division for Planetary Sciences — the premiere planetary science conference in the U.S. and arguably in the world — is happening this week in Tucson, Arizona. There are 21 UCF-led presentations at this meeting. 75% of our graduate students wilil be there to present talks and posters.
Nate Lust, one of our graduate students, has successfully defended his PhD dissertation on using new mathematical and statistical tehcniques to improve the signal-to-noise ratios and thus the interpretation of photometric data. Congratulations Dr. Lust!
Robinson Observatory sponsored the make-up date for the International Observe the Moon Night. This was originally scheduled for September 6th but the event was clouded out. The make-up date had clear skies and the volunteers gave great views of the night sky to about 50 folks, both students and the general public.
Emily Kramer, one of our graduate students, has successfully defended her PhD dissertation. She will be moving on to a NASA Postdoctoral position at JPL to continue to do wonderful science. Congratulations Dr. Kramer!
NASA has selected UCF to host one of nine new “Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institutes”. This is a five-year, multi-million dollar institute that will be led by Prof. Dan Britt, and will involve many additional personnel at UCF as well as researchers and collaborators around the world. A description of the institutes can be found in the NASA press release. There’s also an article in Florida Today!
A team of UCF planetary scientists set up telescopes at Knights Plaza to participate in International Observe the Moon Night, a global event designed to bring the wonders of the Moon and the night sky to as many people as possible! UCF’s event was one of hundreds happening that day around the world. About 100 members of the UCF community and general public were able to see craters on the Moon, the phase of Venus, and sunspots on the Sun. The team included Prof. Yan Fernandez, Dr. Addie Dove, Jenna Jones, Tracy Becker, and Allison Bratcher.
This week in Denver, CO, the Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society is holding their 45th Annual Meeting. An astounding TWENTY-TWO UCFers are giving presentations at that conference, including undergraduates, graduate students, researchers, and faculty. There’s more info by checking out the UCF press release.
Comet ISON (C/2012 S1) is on its first trip into the inner Solar System since it was formed 4.5 BILLION years ago. The comet could become the ‘Comet of the Century’ but it could just as well be a big dud. Read more about it in this press release featuring UCF’s own Yan Fernandez.
Some of our astronomers are highlighted in this 6.5-minute film that summarizes many of the terrific research programs going on here in our Physics Department. The film was created in conjunction with the American Physical Society and was formally released to the public at the recent APS March Meeting.
In a “Science Behind the News” segment, Joe Harrington and Csaba Palotai discuss their research on how an atmosphere responds to the impact of a comet or asteroid. Very timely stuff given the recent DA14 flyby and the Chelyabinsk bolide! You can watch the 5 minute segment here.
The Southeast Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics (SCUWP) is a three-day conference for undergraduate physics majors in the southeastern United States. The 2013 conference is happening at UCF’s Student Union from the evening of Friday January 18th to the afternoon of Sunday January 20th. Check the conference website for more info.
Join our very own Prof. Humberto Campins at the Orlando Science Center on Saturday, Dec. 1 for a hands-on program that delivers the real story when it comes to asteroids that threaten Earth. Find out more details about the event at UCFToday.
A University of Central Florida experiment that could help explain how planets formed in our solar system has won a free ride to the International Space Station in 2013. Physics professor Joshua Colwell’s experiment is one of eight winners of the Space Florida International Space Station Research Competition sponsored by Space Florida and NanoRacks. Read the full story at COSNews.
International leaders in asteroid and comet research are gathering at the University of Central Florida in Orlando Friday, Feb. 15, for a special “viewing party” that will climax with asteroid 2012 DA14 zipping between Earth and orbiting communication satellites (within 14,000 miles of Earth). The asteroid, the size of a city block, will squeeze by Earth’s atmosphere and the geostationary satellites orbiting the planet. It will be the closest fly by in history. Read the full story at COSNews.