CONGRATULATIONS to Francisco Mendez for being awarded the Chambliss Medal from the American Astronomical Society for his poster presentation. He was one of only three undergraduate students awardees in the Chambliss Astronomy Achievement Student Award competition for undergraduate students at the virtual 236th AAS meeting.

The Chambliss Astronomy Achievement Student Awards are given to recognize exemplary research by AAS Undergraduate and Graduate Student Members who present posters at meetings of the AAS. Awardees are honored with a Chambliss medal or, in the case of honorable mention, a certificate.

The Chambliss Astronomy Achievement Student Awards are named for longtime AAS member Carlson R. Chambliss, who taught at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania from 1970 to 2003. Dr. Chambliss not only donated the funds to mint the medals, but also designed them himself.

CONGRATULATIONS FRANCISCO!

The UF Astronomy Department would like to add our voice to the recent message from UF President Fuchs in condemning racism, injustice, and hate. The deadly violence in the last weeks experienced by unarmed Black people have deeply disturbed, angered and frightened many of us. We know that the disproportionate use of force and violence against people of color, including by law enforcement, is an ongoing reality in America. These events affect our community directly. Many Black astronomers in this country are suffering at this moment. We express our unequivocal revulsion toward these acts, which are just one facet of systemic racism. As a department, we affirm our commitment to ensure the inclusion, support, and safety of every Black person and person of color in astronomy, including our colleagues and students here at UF. By stating our support, we are refusing to dismiss the suffering of those affected as if it were unrelated to us. The work needed toward making a just community, free from hate and racial inequality, may take many forms. We commit to undertaking that mission.

Signed,

UF Astronomy Faculty:
Elizabeth A. Lada      Anthony Gonzalez     Steve Eikenberry      Desika Narayanan
Sarah Ballard             Rana Ezzeddine         Adam Ginsburg          Rafael Guzman
Naibi Marinas            Francisco Reyes         Paul Sell                      Zachary Slepian
Charles Telesco         Paul Torrey                 Bo Zhao

UF Astronomy Affiliate Faculty
Laura Blecha              Katia Matcheva

UF Astronomy Emeritus Faculty:
Howard Cohen          Stanley Dermott        George Lebo

UF Astronomy Staff
Greg Bennett              Matt Glover                Fran Green                 Meghan Gertsch
Frank Varosi              Craig Warner

UF Astronomy Graduate Students:
Quadry Chance          Chenxing Dong          Karolina Garcia          Prerak Garg
Amy Gottlieb              Desmond Jeff             Sarik Jeram                Qi Li
Sidney Lower             Genevieve Markees   Theo Richardson       Jonah Rose
Billy Schap                 Khunanon Thongkham

UF Astronomy and Astrophysics Undergraduate Majors:
Riccardo Ansaldi       Kristina Berkova       Nina Brown                Deal Derod
Madeline Hall             Veema Jhagru            Isabelle Jones             Diana Lutz
Kiersten Meigs           Malavika Nair            Briana Rosa                Urja Shah
Pae Swanson              Kaite Teixeira            Daniel Warshofsky    Yan Zhou

If you would like to add your signature, please click here

To see the full and updated list of people endorsing this statement go here

For the last few years, the UF Department of Astronomy has worked with the UF spinoff company Satlantis to develop a state-of-the-art space camera for scientific and commercial applications: the “integrated Standard Imager for Microsatellites” (iSIM). The iSIM camera concept was originally designed in our department to obtain very deep images of dark haloes in galaxies around the Milky Way. These observations will provide the definitive information to unveil the nature of the elusive Dark Matter that fills the Universe. This is the main goal of the DUNES astrophysics mission (PI: R. Guzman), currently in preparation. But iSIM also provides very competitive performance for Earth Observations and its commercial applications led by Satlantis.

A major milestone in this technological development was achieved May 20, 2020, with the launch of the JAXA HTV-9 mission from Tanegashima​ (Japan). The HTV-9 mission is taking our iSIM-170 camera to the International Space Station (ISS), where it will dock on May 25th, 2020. Our camera is scheduled to be positioned on the outside platform of the Japanese KIBO module on June 10th and start taking images soon after. For the first time ever, a camera with just 170mm mirror diameter and a total mass less than 15 kg will demonstrate it can observe the Earth from space with sub-meter spatial resolution. To be precise, iSIM-170 aims to detect objects as small as 80 cm in size while taking images over a typical area of 12000 square km. And all this while traveling at 27600 km/h, 400 kilometers above the Earth’s surface.

The iSIM technology is another example of the benefits offered by a stable Instrumentation Program in our Department, providing access to state-of-the-art expertise in optics, mechanics, electronics and software to support the research activities of our faculty and students.

Credit: R. Guzman, B. Zhao, S. Schofield, and the Satlantis team

The Campus Teaching Observatory open houses are canceled until at least the end of June. Please check back in June.

The event schedule can be found here: https://ww3.astro.ufl.edu/publicsched.html

The University of Florida Department of Astronomy hosted a collaborative meeting including representatives from universities from across the state of Florida.  With an overarching goal of promoting astronomy research, education, and outreach, the representatives discussed ways that individual faculty members and institutions as a whole could better work together to serve our students and communities.