2010 Space Astronomy Summer Program

Robert Hanisch, hanisch@stsci.edu

For a period of ten weeks this past summer—and for the 17th consecutive year—the Institute welcomed a group of some of the brightest students of astronomy and physics to work on research, technology, and public outreach projects with members of the Institute staff. I had the honor of managing the program this year, taking over from David Soderblom, who initiated the program in 1993 and provided oversight for all the intervening years. I can now say from first-hand experience how hard Dave worked on the program, and how gratifying it is to watch the students prosper during their ten weeks in residence at the Institute.

This year we had 16 students (from an applicant pool of 200) representing a diversity of colleges, backgrounds, and experience. Most were upper-level undergraduates, and several were in transition to graduate school.

The summer program concluded with a day-long seminar, with each student presenting the results of his or her work. Topics ranged from educational computer games to a variety of educational uses for the Hubble archive, and to refinement of an automated technique for image registration. Scientific presentations included variable stars discovered in the Kepler mission database and studies of stellar evolution, stellar populations, and gravitational microlensing. Other students delved into extragalactic astronomy and cosmology, studying star formation in dwarf galaxies, the background light in the Hubble Ultra-Deep Field, the initial mass function in starburst galaxies, and surprising levels of molecular hydrogen in merging galaxies.

Table 1: The 2010 Institute Summer Students

College Affiliation
Staff Advisor
Mahmuda Afrin BahdanMt. Holyoke College, South Hadley, MAClaus Leitherer
Luca BorsatoUniversity of Padua, Padua, ItalyLuigi Bedin
Melissa ButnerAustin Peay State University, Clarksburg, TNSusana Deustua
Diane FeuilletWhitman College, Walla Walla, WAKailash Sahu
Xinyi GuoPomona College, Pomona, CAPaul Goudfrooij
Katherine HamrenCornell University, Ithaca, NYStefano Casertano
Jessica HarrisFisk University, Nashville, TNBrad Whitmore
Kyle HarrisUniversity of Baltimore, Baltimore, MDAlberto Conti
Melodie KaoMassachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MAElena Sabbi
Ethan KruseHarvard University, Cambridge, MAJason Tumlinson
Peiyuan MaoLafayette College, Easton, PADavid Soderblom
Kristen RecineDickinson College, Carlisle, PALisa Frattare
Sara (Alex) SansBeloit College, Beloit, WIMassimo Robberto
Peter SimsUniversity of Warwick, Warwick, UKWarren Hack
Tuguldur SukhboldUniversity of Arizona, Tucson, AZHarry Ferguson
Vicki ToyUniversity of California, Berkeley, CARachel Osten