MN Institute for Astrophysics Colloquium

semester, 2018


Friday, January 5th 2018
Speaker: No colloquium this week.

Friday, January 12th 2018
Speaker: No colloquium this week.

Friday, January 19th 2018
Speaker: No colloquium this week.

Friday, January 26th 2018
Speaker: No colloquium this week.

Friday, February 2nd 2018
Speaker: No colloquium this week.

Monday, February 5th 2018
Speaker: Jeff Pedelty, NASA
Subject: Jeff will share his diverse experiences while working for NASA and its industrial partners.

Jeff earned a B.S. in physics from the Iowa State University in 1981 and a Ph.D. in astrophysics from the University of Minnesota in 1988. His thesis combined observational radio astronomy with Professor Rudnick and computational fluid dynamics with Professor Woodward. Since leaving Minnesota he has worked for NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD. He supported the Nobel-winning Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE), the Earth science missions Landsat 7, 8, and 9, and the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS-1) weather satellite. He also worked in the areas of high performance computing, signal and image processing, astrobiology, and remote sensing science. For the past 10 years he has worked for the Landsat Project onsite at Ball Aerospace in Boulder, CO and at Orbital ATK in Gilbert, AZ.


Friday, February 9th 2018
Speaker: Terry Jones, University of Minnesota
Subject: Interstellar Polarization

This talk will start with a bit of retrospective on my career in astronomy, after which I will focus on the topic of interstellar polarization. I will concentrate on work done here at the University of Minnesota, up to current work using MMTPol on the MMT and HAWC+ on SOFIA. The primary science goal of this work is to study the magnetic field geometry in all phases of the interstellar medium, and determine what limitations there are to that effort. Lastly, I will describe some future trends.


Friday, February 16th 2018
Speaker: Evan Skillman, MIfA
Subject: The Resolved Stellar Populations JWST Early Release Science Program

Our JWST ERS program will obtain deep multi-band NIRCam and NIRISS imaging of three resolved stellar systems within 1 Mpc. We will use this broad science program to optimize observational setups and to develop data reduction techniques that will be common to JWST studies of resolved stellar populations. We will combine our expertise in HST resolved star studies with these observations to design, test, and release point spread function (PSF) fitting software specific to JWST. PSF photometry is at the heart of resolved stellar populations studies, but is not part of the standard JWST reduction pipeline. Our program will establish JWST-optimized methodologies in six scientific areas: star formation histories, measurement of the sub-Solar mass stellar IMF, extinction maps, evolved stars, proper motions, and globular clusters, all of which will be common pursuits for JWST in the local Universe. Our observations will be of high archival value (e.g., for calibrating stellar evolution models, measuring properties of variable stars, and searching for metal-poor stars) and will provide blueprints for the community to efficiently reduce and analyze JWST observations of resolved stellar populations.


Friday, February 23rd 2018
Speaker: Attila Kovacs (SAO)
Subject: Far-infrared frontiers

The far-infrared (FIR) and (sub)millimeter bands provide us with unique views of structure formation in the Universe and the Galaxy alike. At these wavelengths we have the most adept probes of active star-formation that sample almost all of the reionized Universe (z~1--10) with essentially no bias. The Sunyayev Zel'dovich effect traces the assembly of galaxy clusters regardless of cosmological distance. Locally, in the Galaxy, FIR polarimetry probes the magnetic environments and dust properties around optically obscured young stars and cores, while FIR spectroscopy can spy on the ices in planetary disks. I will also highlight some of the ground-braking recent and upcoming instrumentation and technologies I work on to can deliver this scientific treasure trove.


Friday, March 2nd 2018
Speaker: Dr. Mateusz Ruszkowski, U. Michigan
Faculty Host: Thomas W. Jones

Friday, March 9th 2018
Speaker: David Sand, U. Arizona
Subject: Unveiling the Physics and Progenitors of Cosmic Explosions with a One Day Cadence Supernova Search

Supernovae (SNe) are a linchpin for understanding the chemical evolution and star formation history of the Universe. Despite progress, some of the most basic questions about SNe persist, and we seek to answer the question: What are the explosion mechanisms and progenitor star systems of SNe? In the early hours to days after explosion, SNe provide clues to how they explode, and what their
progenitor star systems were. Observing these ephemeral signatures requires a fast search cadence and immediate spectroscopic response, a dual feat which has been difficult to achieve. Motivated by the need to discover, and study, SNe within the first day of explosion, we have begun a one-day cadence SN search of nearby galaxies (D<40 Mpc; also known as the DLT40 Survey) with a PROMPT 0.4-m telescope directly tied to the robotic FLOYDS spectrographs, a pair of instruments that I helped to develop. Here I will highlight our team's initial discoveries, with an eye towards what will be achievable with future time domain
surveys -- perhaps including nearly automated follow-up of LSST transients and Advanced LIGO gravitational wave events with the suite of Steward Observatory's small telescopes.

Faculty Host: M. Claudia Scarlata

Friday, March 16th 2018
Speaker: No colloquium this week - Spring Break

Friday, March 23rd 2018
Speaker: Dr. Jordan Stone, U. Arizona
Faculty Host: Charles E. Woodward

Friday, March 30th 2018
Speaker: Lou Stolger, Space Telescope

Friday, April 6th 2018
Speaker: No colloquium this week.

Friday, April 13th 2018
Speaker: T. Rivera-Thorsen, Institute of Theoretical Astrophysics
Faculty Host: M. Claudia Scarlata

Friday, April 20th 2018
Speaker: No colloquium - See info for the Kaufmanis Public Lecture on the 18th

Friday, April 27th 2018
Speaker: Dr. Christian Veillet, Large Binocula Telescope Observatory (LBTO)
Faculty Host: Charles E. Woodward

Friday, May 4th 2018
Speaker: Dr. Silva Protoppa, U. Maryland
Faculty Host: Charles E. Woodward

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