All Notes Taken By Linda Watson

UAS Meeting January 27, 2004
Brian Cherinka explained both the research program offered by in the Canary
Islands as well as the reseach he did there. His reseach was on Tidal Streams
in External Galaxies. Attempting to understand how galaxies are disrupted
when they interact, he looked at a Cold Dark Matter view of the universe
and tried to explain how galaxy interactions explain halo formation and other
properties of galaxies.

UAS Meeting November 25, 2003
Dr. Oliver's talk is available here.

UAS Meeting October 28, 2003
Dr. Hamann gave an enlightening talk about graduate school. I'll put a link up
soon to a copy of the lecture.

UAS Meeting October 16, 2003
Dr. Oliver told us about remote observing, both at Rosemary Hill Observatory
and with telescopes around the world. The Concam network has locations from
Hawaii to South Africa to Bronson, FL. In addition, there are many observatories
that are starting to turn towards observing from the comfort of home.

UAS Meeting September 30, 2003
Jessica LaVine, although battling fever and other horrid illnesses, spoke about
her research on a Luminous Blue Variable (LVB) in a "funky cluster." It
is an extermely luminous object, with a mass of about 200 times that of the
sun. this mass was previously thought to be impossible, thus raising questions
about whether the distance determination of 15.1 kpc was correct. She is
cureently working on the analysis of Wolfe-Rayet stars in the same cluster
as the LBV to cement the distance value to the cluster, but is planning on
coming back to the odd properties of the LBV for her thesis.

UAS Meeting September 16, 2003
At the recent meeting, Dr. Reyes spoke about the Mars Opposition,
which peaked on August 27, and about why Mars is such an interesting topic.
The mid-60s brought the first images of Mars, which is about 0.1 of the mass
and 0.5 of the diameterof Earth. He spoke about the land formations on Mars,
dust stomrs, polar caps, permafrost that might hold life, and the thin atmosphere.
This year, Mars came within 0.37 AUs from Earth and Dr. Reyes took the opportunity
to use the Campus Teaching Observatory's Army Telescope to video the event on two
separate days--August 23 and September 12, both of which he showed us during
his discussion.

UAS Meeting Oct 31, 2002
At the October 31 UAS meeting, Catherine Garland spoke about what it is
to be a graduate student.  Overall, the average graduate student takes
about 6 years to get a Ph.D., with some taking as few as 4 years and
some taking as many as 9 years.  She outlined her experience thus far,
extrapolated into her future and noted that many graduate programs are
similar to UF's.  In the first two years of graduate school, the student
generally is a TA for undergraduate courses, while also taking graduate
courses.  At the end of this period comes a qualifying exam.  In
addition, many programs have students complete a “second year project,”
which introduces the student to research.  In the third year of graduate
school, many people continue as a TA, while also looking for a
dissertation topic, gathering data and starting research.  The
culmination of this year is an oral candidacy exam, where a committee
determines whether the student actually knows his research topic well
enough to continue.  In the years that follow, whether they are only one
or possibly six, the student typically continues digesting the data from
his research, writes his thesis, presents his findings, defends his
dissertation, looks for a job, and finally graduates.

Catherine's research topic is emerging star burst galaxies.  Good luck
to her in her oral candidacy exam.

UAS Meeting Oct 17, 2002
From Dr. Oliver:

The peak of the Leonids meteor shower will be on November 19 at 5:30am.
This is near astronomical dawn, so the moon (while it will be bright)
will be on the horizon.  It's supposed to be a really great meteor shower, with
~500 in a half an hour.

Ata Sarajedini's Lecture:

     Dr. Sarajedini’s overall project is "Resolving Stellar Populations
in Milky Way and Nearby Galaxies.”  This means that he looks at objects for which
individual stars can be resolved (in a range of about a mega-parsec) and uses the
data collected to come to conclusions that may apply to all astronomy.  
When looking at the Local Group of galaxies, one can find that all the galaxy
types are present, therefore giving us a good sample of interesting objects to
     One idea he is working on is whether the Milky Way and other
galaxies like it were and are being formed by dwarf galaxies colliding and merging with
the larger component.  Dr. Sarajedini has examined how the Sagittarius Dwarf Galaxy
is merging into the Milky Way to lend weight to this argument.
In addition, Dr. Sarajedini has found possible proof for a Thick Disk in
M31 (Andromeda).  This would be the first evidence of a thick disk
discovered besides in the Milky Way.
     Also, he is looking at “Helium Burning Red Clump Stars” because they
can be useful in determining distance.  One test he completed for this method
was to find the distance to the Small Magellanic Cloud.  This distance is often used
when doing extragalactic study.  The method did work, coming very close to
the value usually assumed.
     Finally, Dr. Sarajedini is working on a “Census of Old Clusters in
the Small Magellanic Cloud.”  He is examining the age-metallicity relationship
within the Small Magellanic Cloud and is also comparing the values to those found
in the Large Magellanic Cloud.
     Overall, Dr. Sarajedini wanted to emphasize that looking at nearby
stars and galaxies is a very good method for extending our knowledge of all

Super Thanks to Linda Watson for her records!

~Christina Kasm