I am a member of the ALFALFA Team, led by Riccardo Giovanelli and Martha Haynes at Cornell University. The ALFALFA (Arecibo Legacy Fast ALFA) project used the Arecibo Observatory 305-m telescope (shown at right) near Arecibo, Puerto Rico, to search for emission from neutral hydrogen (HI) in galaxies.
I am the leader of the NSF -funded
Undergraduate ALFALFA Team, a consortium of 24 institutions participating
in ALFALFA research. The program includes an Annual Undergraduate ALFALFA Workshop at the Green Bank or Arecibo Observatory. Check out the webpage of the twelth Arecibo workshop, held June 18-22, 2019.
Read more about the grant in Koopmann et al. 2020, Troischt et al. 2016, and Odekon 2015.
Lucas Viani '14Lucas completed a physics major and astrophysics minor. He observed remotely for the ALFALFA program on his very first weekend at Union College, joining with other members of the Physics 100 Freshman Seminar class! He observed again in Winter 2011 (lower left photo and this ALFALFA blog ) .
Lucas completed two summer research projects, a sophomore scholar project, and a senior thesis on the star formation properties of the NGC 5846 group of galaxies. His Summer 2011 project was sponsored by an Undergraduate ALFALFA Team Summer Research Fellowship and his Summer 2012 project by the Union College Summer Research Program and the NASA NY Space Grant. Lucas has examined star formation characteristics of numerous members of the NGC 5846 group via R and Hα imaging obtained at two telescopes: the CTIO 0.9-m telescope through Union's participation in the SMARTS consortium and the Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO) in WIYN 0.9m telescope with MOSAIC through time granted to the project in April 2011. As part of this project, Lucas travelled with Prof. Koopmann to KPNO in April 2013. He is shown at the observatory at lower right. His work shows that the galaxies have reduced star formation rates and radial distributions compared to field galaxies.
Lucas also traveled with Halley Darling, Rachel Almodovar, and me to Arecibo Observatory in March 2012 and with Michael Warrener and me to Arecibo Observatory in November 2013 to observe for the L-Band Wide Followup project of intriguing ALFALFA detections. He is shown at the observatory at middle and bottom left.
Lucas was selected for a Research Experience for Undergraduates at UCLA in Summer 2013. He was nationally recognized for his academic achievements with a Goldwater Fellowship.
He has presented his work at the January 2013 meeting of the American Astronomical Society, the Fall 2011 Skidmore College Undergraduate Research Conference, the Union College Summer Research Seminar Series and the Department of Physics and Astronomy Summer Research Poster Sessions, and at the Fifth Undergraduate ALFALFA Team Arecibo workshop .
Lucas is beginning graduate school in astronomy at Yale Unicersity in Fall 2014.
Michael Warrener '16
Michael is a physics major and astrophysics minor at Union. He first learned about ALFALFA and galaxy evolution in the Physics 100 Freshman Physics Seminar course. As part of that course, Michael observed remotely using the Arecibo telescope. He applied for and was accepted to carry out a 6-week Undergraduate ALFALFA Team summer research grant with Prof. Koopmann for Summer 2013, the summer after his freshman year. Michael reduced and analyzed R and Hα imaging of galaxies in a 1 square degree field of the NGC 5846 group, observations that were obtained at the KPNO WIYN 0.9m telescope with the MOSAIC camera. In the upper left picture, he points to one such galaxy. He was able to obtain his own observations in April 2014, when he accompanied me to KPNO. In the picture at lower right, he is shown with the WIYN 0.9 telescope.
After just two weeks of working in my lab, Michael helped to tutor students and faculty visiting for the Undergraduate ALFALFA Team Summer 2013 Summer Research Mini-Conference at Union. Students and faculty from 6 UAT institutions travelled to Union and another three joined the group for an afternoon research telecon. After the conference, Michael and Ryan Muther helped to train Hartwick and West Texas A&M faculty to reduce Halpha images.
Michael accompanied Lucas Viani and me to the Arecibo Observatory in November 2013 to help in an observing program designed to follow up ALFALFA detections in void regions. He returned to Arecibo in January 2014 to present his results at the Seventh NSF-Sponsored Undergraduate ALFALFA Team Workshop. He is shown in front of the Arecibo telescope at upper right and next to his poster at lower left. He has also presented his work at the Union College Summer 2014 Poster Session and at the Fall 2013 meeting of the Astronomical Society of New York at Union.
Michael was awarded a Hoffleit Undergraduate Research Scholarship at Yale University for the Summer of 2014.
Ryan Muther '16
Ryan is a computer science and history major. He was supported by a 6-week Undergraduate ALFALFA Team summer research grant for Summer 2013, the summer after his freshman year. As part of his project, Ryan used his python expertise to rewrite and enhance several image reduction programs and them to analyze several galaxies in the NGC 5846 group. His programs are being used by the Union team and the wider collaboration as they reduce Halpha images of galaxies in nearby groups.
After just two weeks of work at Union, Ryan helped to tutor students and faculty visiting for the Undergraduate ALFALFA Team Summer 2013 Summer Research Mini-Conference at Union. Students and faculty from 6 UAT institutions travelled to Union and another three joined the group for an afternoon research telecon. After the conference, Ryan and Michael Warrener helped to train Hartwick and West Texas A&M faculty to reduce Halpha images.
Ryan is shown at upper left at work in my lab. At lower left, he presents his work jointly with Michael Warrener at the Union College Summer 2014 Poster Session. He and Michael Warrener also presented a poster at the Fall 2013 meeting of the Astronomical Society of New York at Union College.