content top

Presenting My Research Poster at the DPS Meeting

Presenting My Research Poster at the DPS Meeting

For the past week, I’ve been in Provo, Utah, for the 49th meeting of the Division of Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society. For the occasion, I put together a poster to give attendees a taste of a research project I’ve been working on: “Using Four-Body Problems to Explore Aegaeon’s Orbital Evolution”. I analyze a plausible explanation for how Saturn’s smallest moon, Aegaeon, got to where it is today. After I do some additional work and write the paper, I will provide a link to it and explain it in some detail for those who are interested.

 

Read More

Cassini’s End

Cassini’s End

This Friday, the Cassini spacecraft, which has orbited Saturn since 2004, will end its mission by crashing into Saturn. It happens to be the Catholic memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows. It is indeed a sad day to see Cassini go. This spacecraft has transmitted 635 GB of data back to Earth, helping us understand more about the Universe we live in.

Why is Cassini crashing? We intend to send future missions to the Saturn system and especially wish to explore Saturn’s moons Titan and Enceladus. Although we may not expect to find life on these moons, they possess several conditions for life that we need to study in more detail. For this reason, we need to avoid any possibility of contaminating their environments. The surest way is to crash Cassini into Saturn while there is still enough fuel left to control it. On Monday morning, Cassini received its last gentle push from Titan, altering its orbit enough to plunge into Saturn’s atmosphere this Friday. There is no turning back now.

Cassini completed its first mission back in 2008. Still in good shape, it received funding to continue exploring the Saturn system through additional missions. During its first mission, it released the Huygens probe, which landed on the surface of Titan and transmitted a small amount of data.

I first heard of Cassini in 2008 when I found an exhibit for it at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Back then I never would have thought that I’d be involved in Cassini science. Here I am in grad school though, working on a research project involving Saturn’s rings and moons, thanks to the success of the Cassini spacecraft. The next missions to the outer planets and their moons can’t come soon enough.

Farewell, Cassini.

Read More

First AAS Experience

First AAS Experience

Recently I had the opportunity to attend the 227th meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Kissimmee, Florida. I was able to meet several important astronomers as well as others who like me are applying for graduate school in astronomy. The convention provided an excellent opportunity to get up to date with the newest research results and data analysis tools.

Although I did not present anything at this convention, I did get many ideas. Towards the end of the convention I exchanged messages with a professor in my university’s astronomy department, and it’s my hope that this will lead to a personal research project that I can present at the next AAS meeting this June.

It was reassuring to see how welcoming the great majority of astronomers were to us who are merely beginning this career. At the same time, there are so many discoveries happening in the field of astronomy. It is truly an exciting time to become an astronomer!

Read More
content top