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Session 4 - Education: Telescopes, the Web and Curricula.
Display session, Wednesday, January 07
A Joint Venture in Research Grant from NASA has enabled a team of undergraduates from Valdosta State University, lead by Dr. Martha Leake, to spectroscopically and photometrically search for aqueously altered minor planets. To carry out the necessary preparations, calculations, and measurements, students are using CCD and Spectroscopy equipment provided by VSU, a .4-m telescope in Valdosta, in addition to a .9-m telescope at Kitt Peak, belonging to the SARA consortium (Southeastern Association for Research in Astronomy). Focusing on primitive C-class asteroids, the team is looking for water of hydration, in the form of absorption bands occurring at specific, previously researched wavelengths. The evidence occurring at these wavelengths suggests the extent of alteration in small solar-system bodies. Equipment being utilized includes an ST-6 and Axiom CCD Cameras, and an Optomechanics 10C spectrograph, and several "intermediate-band" filters to target the specified wavelengths essential to detection o f aqueously altered minerals. Test runs on Valdosta’s .4-m are currently being conducted to inspect new equipment and develop analogs for more efficient observation runs on SARA’s .9-m telescope.
Students were originally chosen on a competitive basis, having to submit formal applications. Three were selected for JOVE research: Roy Kilgard, senior astronomy major; Katherine Semmes, junior physics major; and myself, Lisa Watkins, sophomore astronomy major. Roy Kilgard graduated in the Spring of 1997 with his Astronomy degree, and the position was filled by Brent Collier, a junior Geosciences major at VSU. Students’ research is monitored and directed by the project mentor and grant recipient, Dr. Martha Leake.
Program listing for Wednesday