Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Biology Students Learn To Scan The Stars For Signs Of Life

16.03.2005


  • You have to learn to crack eggs if you’re going to cook an omelet.
  • You have to jump in the water if you’re going to learn to swim.
  • And you have to get your hands on telescopes that can search for signs of life beyond Earth if you’re going to study extraterrestrial biology.

That’s why 14 University of Washington graduate biology students will be at Kitt Peak National Observatory this week (March 17 - 21) to learn observing techniques from University of Arizona and National Optical Astronomy Observatory astronomers.

The UW students are specializing in a new science called "astrobiology" that involves studying biological processes on the Earth and beyond. It’s a multidisciplinary science that combines research in physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy and planetary science.

The astronomy faculty and biology students will use Kitt Peak’s world-class telescopes to study interstellar molecules, the sun, and sun-like stars that may be capable of supporting life. Interstellar molecules are molecules of chemical compounds in the space between the stars and the "building blocks" of astrobiology.



The telescopes and faculty involved in the program are:

The Kitt Peak 12-meter (40-foot) Telescope, part of UA’s Arizona Radio Observatory, directed by Lucy Ziurys, UA professor of chemistry and astronomy. Ziurys and Steward Observatory’s Aldo Apponi will conduct the lab, "Interstellar Molecules as Probes of Star Formation and Prebiotic Chemistry."

The McMath-Pierce Solar Telescope. Mark Giampapa, deputy director of the National Solar Observatory, will lead sessions in solar astronomy that measure magnetic fields and spectra of the sun as analogs to sun-like stars.

The 2.3-meter (90-inch) Steward Observatory Bok Telescope. UA astronomy Professor Nick Woolf, director of LAPLACE, and Steward Observatory’s Daniel Apai and Paul Smith will conduct a lab on "Optical Spectroscopy of Young Sun-like Stars." LAPLACE is the Tucson-based Life and Planets Astrobiology Center, part of the NASA Astrobiology Institute.

The 2.1-meter (83-inch) Kitt Peak National Observatory Telescope. Michael Meyer, UA assistant astronomy professor, and UA astronomy graduate student Wayne Schlingman will use a near-infrared camera on the telescope for their lab sessions on "Near-Infrared Imaging of Extremely Young Star Clusters - Investigating the Formation of Sun-like Stars."

The Wisconsin-Indiana-Yale-NOAO (WIYN) 0.9-meter (35-inch) Optical Telescope. Astrophysicist William Sherry and Steward Observatory’s Nick Siegler will lead a lab on the "Optical Imaging of Extremely Young Star-Clusters ­ Investigating the Formation of Sun-like Stars."

Kitt Peak Public Viewing Telescopes. Kitt Peak staff will assist the biology students in observing and photographing the night sky.

Other participants in the exchange include:

- Jonathan Lunine of the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory
- Woody Sullivan of UW
- Tom Olien, UA visiting professor from Humber College, Toronto
- Anna Spitz, manager of the LAPLACE program
- Cathi Duncan, LAPLACE program coordinator

The UW students’ visit to Kitt Peak is part of a 2005 exchange program being sponsored by LAPLACE and UW. UA astronomy students will conduct marine biology field work, courtesy of the UW, next fall.

LAPLACE is a node of the NASA Astrobiology Institute, an international research consortium that studies the origin, evolution, distribution and future of life on Earth and in the universe. For more on LAPLACE, see http://www.laplace.arizona.edu.

Contact Information

Anna Spitz 520-621-3234 aspitz@as.arizona.edu
Cathi Duncan 520-626-8792 cduncan@as.arizona.edu
Neville Woolf 520-621-3234 nwoof@as.arizona.edu

Lori Stiles | UA News Services
Further information:
http://www.laplace.arizona.edu.

More articles from Interdisciplinary Research:

nachricht New approach: Researchers succeed in directly labelling and detecting an important RNA modification
30.04.2018 | Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster

nachricht Start of work for the world's largest electric truck
20.04.2018 | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt

All articles from Interdisciplinary Research >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

Im Focus: Entangled atoms shine in unison

A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.

The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Research reveals how order first appears in liquid crystals

23.05.2018 | Life Sciences

Space-like gravity weakens biochemical signals in muscle formation

23.05.2018 | Life Sciences

NIST puts the optical microscope under the microscope to achieve atomic accuracy

23.05.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>