Past Events in 2017

Sensitive and precise mid-infrared spectroscopy of molecular ions relevant to interstellar chemistry

Date: 
Wednesday, October 04, 2017 - 3:30pm PDT
Speaker: 
Charles Markus
Affiliation: 
University of Illinois
Location: 
N232 R103
Event Type: 
Colloquium

Molecular ions play a central role in interstellar chemistry. Ion – neutral reactions enable chemistry to occur even in the cold and diffuse environment of the interstellar medium, because of their high cross sections and their lack of barriers to reaction. Abundances of molecular ions are closely tied to interstellar conditions such as the cosmic ray ionization rate, making them valuable targets for observation. Laboratory measurements of transition frequencies can assist astronomers with searching for, assigning, and analyzing interstellar species.

The Properties of High-Mass Proto-Clusters : from Multi-Wavelength Dust and Gas Observations

Date: 
Friday, October 06, 2017 - 10:30am PDT
Speaker: 
Wanggi Lim
Affiliation: 
University of Florida/Korea Astronomy & Space Science Institute
Location: 
N232 R227
Event Type: 
Seminar

The formation processes of high-mass stars and star clusters are poorly constrained by observations despite of their important roles on Galactic ecology. Due to the physical and dynamical complexities of the high-mass proto-clusters, we require the multi-wavelength observation to understand the properties of the regions. We first investigate dust extinction law in an Infrared Dark Cloud (IRDC), G028.37+00.07, by utilizing image analysis of Spitzer-IRAC (3.6, 4.5, 6, 8μm), WISE W3 (12μm), Spitzer-MIPS (24μm) & Herschel-PACS (70μm) and spectroscopy of Spitzer-IRS LL (15-38μm).

SOFIA Today and the Extended Mission: the New Project Scientist's Pespective

Date: 
Wednesday, October 11, 2017 - 9:00am PDT
Speaker: 
Kimberly Ennico
Affiliation: 
NASA HQ
Location: 
N/A
Event Type: 
Teletalk

The Stratospheric Observatory For Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) combines a Hubble-sized telescope with a modified 747SP aircraft. At altitudes up to 45,000 feet, SOFIA can observe astrophysical phenomena above over 99% of the atmosphere's water vapor, allowing access to frequency ranges in the Terahertz regime to infrared wavelengths inaccessible from the ground.

Mapping dust in 3D with stellar colors

Date: 
Wednesday, October 11, 2017 - 3:30pm PDT
Speaker: 
Douglas Finkbeiner
Affiliation: 
CfA Harvard
Location: 
N232 R103
Event Type: 
Colloquium

Dust emission maps have long been used to estimate total reddening, integrated along the line of sight. These 2D maps are not adequate for reddening estimates within the Milky Way, where the object of interest may not be behind all of the dust.  Using colors of 800,000,000 stars from 2MASS and Pan-STARRS, we can now infer the location of reddening along each line of sight in about 30 distance bins, making a crude 3D dust map with ~ 5 arcmin angular pixels over 3/4 of the sky.

The Solar System at thermal wavelengths: an insight into planetary processes

Date: 
Thursday, October 12, 2017 - 1:00pm PDT
Speaker: 
Arielle Moullet
Affiliation: 
NRAO/Charlottesville
Location: 
N232 R227
Event Type: 
Seminar

The variety of physical and chemical properties observed across Solar System bodies is a testimony to the complex interplay of planetary processes affecting atmospheres and surfaces. To constrain these processes, and possibly retrieve clues pertaining to the initial conditions of the Solar System, planetary scientists strive to access three dimensional maps of bodies' fundamental properties, sampled over relevant timescales.

Imaging and Characterizing Exoplanets from the Ground: The path from Gas Giants to Exo-Earths

Date: 
Friday, October 13, 2017 - 1:00pm PDT
Speaker: 
Franck Marchis
Affiliation: 
SETI Institute
Location: 
N232 R227
Event Type: 
Seminar

The next major breakthrough in the exoplanet field will be the discovery and characterization of an Earth-like planet in the solar neighborhood.  Over the past 15 years, our group led the development of the Gemini Planet Imager which had its first light 3 years ago. In 2015, we announced the direct imaging of the first Jupiter-like exoplanet around 51 Eri. Based on this successful first instrument, we are envisioning  a similar camera called TIKI capable of directly imaging an Earth-like exoplanet around one of the Alpha Centauri stars.

Crystalline silicates in the interstellar medium and YSO envelopes revealed through mid-IR spectroscopy

Date: 
Friday, October 13, 2017 - 3:30pm PDT
Speaker: 
Christopher Wright
Affiliation: 
University of New South Wales, Canberra, Australia
Location: 
N232 R103
Event Type: 
Colloquium

Crystalline silicates are relatively abundant – up to 10-15% by mass – in dust factories and dust repositories. These are respectively outflows from oxygen-rich evolved stars where silicates condense directly out of the gas-phase, and potentially planet-forming disks around young stars, e.g. 1-10 Myr old T Tauri and Herbig Ae-Be stars, where the crystallinity is thought to result from annealing of initially amorphous silicates.

Interstellar Aromatic Molecules: Recent Advances and a SOFIA-Enabled Future?

Date: 
Wednesday, October 25, 2017 - 9:00am PDT
Speaker: 
Brett McGuire
Affiliation: 
NRAO
Location: 
N/A
Event Type: 
Teletalk

The Unidentified Infrared Bands, the low-frequency analog to the Diffuse Interstellar Bands, are now widely believed to originate from the emission of large, aromatic molecules in high-energy environments. Despite this, no individual species has been identified as a carrier, and indeed the only five- or six-membered aromatic ring molecule reported in the ISM is a single-line detection of benzene.

Microwave Kinetic Inductance Detectors for High Contrast Imaging

Date: 
Wednesday, October 25, 2017 - 3:30pm PDT
Speaker: 
Ben Mazin
Affiliation: 
UC Santa Barbara
Location: 
N232 R103
Event Type: 
Colloquium

Microwave Kinetic Inductance Detectors, or MKIDs, are superconducting detector arrays that can measure the energy and arrival time of individual optical through near-IR photons without read noise or dark current.  Here we report on the promising commissioning and first science results of the first two MKID Integral Field Spectrographs (IFSs) for high contrast imaging, the DARKNESS/SDC instrument at Palomar and the MEC/SCExAO instrument on Subaru.  Future upgrades to integrate the MKID IFS as a focal plane wavefront sensor for implement active speckle nulling will be discussed, as well as th

Nearby Galaxy Mergers Seen with Adaptive Optics: A Sharper Image

Date: 
Wednesday, November 01, 2017 - 3:30pm PDT
Speaker: 
Claire Max
Affiliation: 
UC Santa Cruz
Location: 
N232 R227
Event Type: 
Colloquium

Adaptive Optics is a technology that detects and corrects changing distortions in optical systems.  It has been applied to great effect during the past decade to correct astronomical telescopes for blurring due to turbulence in the Earth’s atmosphere. This talk will describe how Adaptive Optics works, and how it is helping us learn about colliding galaxies, merging black holes, and outflows from the cores of nearby merging galaxies.

Dreams of Streams: Exploring the stellar outskirts of nearby galaxies

Date: 
Wednesday, November 08, 2017 - 3:30pm PST
Speaker: 
Daniel Dale
Affiliation: 
University of Wyoming
Location: 
N232 R103
Event Type: 
Colloquium

I will review highlights from the Spitzer Extended Disk Galaxy Exploration Science (EDGES) survey, a Warm Mission program to obtain sensitive infrared imaging for 92 nearby galaxies.  Highlights will include the radial trends in their star formation histories as well as characterizations of their outermost stellar populations.

The C+ Universe

Date: 
Wednesday, November 15, 2017 - 3:30pm PST
Speaker: 
Xander Tielens
Affiliation: 
Leiden Observatory, NL
Location: 
N232 R227
Event Type: 
Colloquium

The interstellar medium (ISM) is central to galaxy evolution over cosmic time. Interstellar gas is known to exist as atomic (HI) clouds and star forming molecular clouds. Recent observations have revealed that half of interstellar gas is in so-called CO-dark molecular gas (hydrogen is H2 but carbon is C+).

[CII] Emission from L1630 in the Orion B Molecular Cloud

Date: 
Wednesday, November 29, 2017 - 9:00am PST
Speaker: 
Cornelia Pabst
Affiliation: 
Leiden University
Location: 
N/A
Event Type: 
Teletalk

Observations towards L1630 in the Orion B molecular cloud, comprising the iconic Horsehead Nebula, allow us to study the interplay between stellar radiation and a molecular cloud under relatively benign conditions, i.e. intermediate densities and an intermediate UV radiation field. We have analyzed SOFIA/upGREAT observations of the [CII] 158 um emission from a 12'x17' region, illuminated by the nearby star system sigma Ori.

New Diagnostics of MHD Turbulence in the Multiphase Interstellar Medium

Date: 
Wednesday, November 29, 2017 - 3:30pm PST
Speaker: 
Blakesley Burkhart
Affiliation: 
CfA Harvard
Location: 
N232 R227
Event Type: 
Colloquium

Our current view of the interstellar medium (ISM) is as a multiphase environment where turbulence affects many key processes. These include star formation, cosmic ray acceleration, and the evolution of structure in the diffuse ISM.

Spiral Arm Structure:[NII] and [CII] in the Scutum Arm

Date: 
Wednesday, December 06, 2017 - 9:00am PST
Speaker: 
Bill Langer
Affiliation: 
NASA JPL
Location: 
N/A
Event Type: 
Teletalk

The spiral arm-interarm interaction is an important process in the dynamics of galactic arms and the formation of interstellar clouds, as it initiates the transition from the highly ionized warm ionized medium (WIM) to neutral gas clouds. The far-infrared emission lines of [CII] and [NII] are important probes of these processes. We use high spectral resolution observations of [CII] 158-micron and [NII] 205-micron fine structure lines taken with the upGREAT and GREAT instruments on SOFIA, along with auxiliary HI and 13CO observations to study the ionized gas in the Scutum arm.

Observing the formation of planets with Molecular Spectroscopy

Date: 
Wednesday, December 06, 2017 - 3:30pm PST
Speaker: 
Colette Salyk
Affiliation: 
Vassar College
Location: 
N232 R227
Event Type: 
Colloquium

As our understanding of the solar system and exoplanetary systems continues to grow, our view of planet formation processes must expand to accommodate the incredible diversity of formation outcomes.  I will focus this talk on my favorite technique for studying planet formation processes in action - molecular spectroscopy.  I will review the techniques of molecular spectroscopy and discuss how they can be used to tackle key questions about planet formation, especially: What factors determine the final chemical make-up of a planet?  I will particularly highlight ongoing work being performed w

SOFIA finds cool dust surrounding energetic black holes

Date: 
Friday, December 08, 2017 - 11:00am PST
Speaker: 
Lindsay Fuller
Affiliation: 
UT at San Antonio
Location: 
N232 R227
Event Type: 
Seminar

Some galaxies in the universe contain a nuclear core which far outshines the galaxy itself.  The energy from the nuclear region cannot be explained by normal stellar processes, but can be explained by accretion of material onto a central supermassive black hole (SMBH).  The cores of these galaxies are called Active Galactic Nuclei, or AGN.  A presumed obscuring dust torus surrounding the SMBH in intercepts high energy optical and UV radiation, and re-radiates at low-energy mid-infrared (MIR) wavelengths.  We have used new observations from SOFIA using FORCAST and HAWC+ to explore the centra

Reducing SOFIA's Image Jitter - an Ongoing Challenge

Date: 
Wednesday, December 13, 2017 - 9:00am PST
Speaker: 
Friederike Graf
Affiliation: 
(NASA Ames, DSI)
Location: 
N/A
Event Type: 
Teletalk

One of the most challenging engineering tasks at SOFIA is keeping the telescope stable, even during turbulent flight conditions. A conservative control system design was chosen to enable smooth operations and reach the requirements during SOFIA's early science phase. Now, fully operational and after several years of successful flights, increasing demands on the image size require further assessment of the pointing performance.

Applying the Cloudy Spectral Synthesis Code to SOFIA Observations

Date: 
Wednesday, December 13, 2017 - 3:30pm PST
Speaker: 
Nick Abel
Affiliation: 
University of Cincinnati, Clermont College
Location: 
N232 R227
Event Type: 
Colloquium

Over the last four decades, the Cloudy code has provided the astronomical community with an invaluable tool for interpreting spectral data across a wide range of environments.  Over the last fifteen years, enhanced treatment of physical processes in Cloudy critical to atomic and molecular environments (PDRs/XDRs) has broadened the codes capabilities, allowing for the self-consistent modeling of gas and dust from the hot, illuminated face of an H+ region to a cold, dense molecular cloud.  Such an integrated modeling approach has clear applications for SOFIA, where a single spectru

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