Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Galaxy Research Earns Astronomer CAREER Award

31.08.2009
An astronomer who came to Indiana University-Bloomington two years ago to study the formation and evolution of galaxies has received the National Science Foundation's most prestigious award for early career, tenure-track teachers and scholars.

The NSF Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program has awarded $681,439 to IU Department of Astronomy assistant professor Katherine Rhode to enhance her research on globular clusters over the next five years.

Globular clusters are luminous, massive swarms of hundreds of thousands of stars that can number in the hundreds, or even thousands, within galaxies. They are of special interest because a system of globular clusters in a specific galaxy can provide a fossil record of the conditions present in that galaxy when the clusters formed billions of years earlier.

Rhode said the funding will allow her to begin a multi-year, wide-field imaging survey of globular cluster systems in giant galaxies found as far as 65 million light years away.

"The goal is to quantify the properties – the numbers, spatial distribution, chemical compositions – of the globular clusters in the galaxies and use these properties to test theories for how the galaxies formed," she said. "Such a survey is a huge effort and will involve lots of planning and preparation, followed by years of observations and data analysis. So a five-year award like this enables me to initiate and carry out the type of big survey that will have more of an impact in the field than a few shorter-term studies."

Rhode plans to use the WIYN 3.5-meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory near Tucson, Ariz., a facility owned in partnership between IU, University of Wisconsin, Yale University and the National Optical Astronomy Observatory, to conduct the survey. She said plans also include use of the One Degree Imager (ODI), a $10 million camera currently being installed on the WIYN telescope designed to correct for atmospheric blur that can occur across the telescope's wide field of view.

The WIYN ODI has a one-degree-across field of view, extremely wide at about twice the diameter of the moon or about 100 times larger than the field of view of the Hubble telescope, which will allow Rhode to observe the entire globular cluster system of each galaxy, or even a few galaxies at a time, in a single pointing. Another advantage of the ODI is its very high resolution, which helps astronomers distinguish real globular clusters from contaminating objects such as faint, distant galaxies.

The velocities of the clusters moving around their host galaxies will also be measurable by studying the clusters' spectrum of electromagnetic radiation, which in turn will provide information about the distribution of mass in the galaxies and allow for the study of the galaxies’ dark matter haloes.

In 2007 Rhode and colleagues discovered the first clear case of a black hole in a globular cluster, and with the new survey data expected to be collected as a result of the CAREER award, she hopes to find and study more black holes that exist in these unique star clusters.

Storing ODI images the size of one billion pixels and four gigabytes each is another challenge Rhode has already been working on with the assistance of a $74,994 IU Faculty Research Support Program award, and she's enlisted the assistance of University Information Technology Services (UITS), IU's Data Capacitor and the Massive Data Storage Service and its 4.2 petabyte capacity. The system that Rhode and UITS staff envision would allow for the reduction, analysis and archiving of ODI images.

"If we are successful at producing this system for analyzing and storing gigapixel images, I anticipate that IU Astronomy and IU UITS will gain much broader recognition in the astronomical community, and perhaps the larger scientific community," Rhode said. "So it will, we hope, open up ODI to a broader community of users and help the instrument have an even greater scientific impact."

Rhode received a B.A. in physics from Sonoma State University in 1989 and then held positions at the Maria Mitchell Observatory, NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics before earning an M.A. in astronomy at Wesleyan University in 1997. She was awarded a Ph.D. in astronomy from Yale University in 2003 and then was an NSF Astronomy & Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellow with a joint appointment at Wesleyan and Yale Universities through 2006. She came to the IU College of Arts and Sciences' Department of Astronomy in August 2007.

Steve Chaplin | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.indiana.edu

More articles from Awards Funding:

nachricht BMBF funding for diabetes research on pancreas chip
08.02.2017 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt

nachricht Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann
20.01.2017 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt

All articles from Awards Funding >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Impacts of mass coral die-off on Indian Ocean reefs revealed

21.02.2017 | Earth Sciences

Novel breast tomosynthesis technique reduces screening recall rate

21.02.2017 | Medical Engineering

Use your Voice – and Smart Homes will “LISTEN”

21.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>