Baldwin Award Lecture
On April 10th, 2018, Dr. Rachael Roettenbacher received the 2017 Baldwin award. She presented a lecture entitled “Imaging and Surveying Spotted Stars.” The Ralph B. Baldwin Prize in Astrophysics and Space Sciences is awarded annually to a student who has received a University of Michigan Ph.D. during the previous year from the fields of Astronomy, Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Space Science; Chemistry; Physics; Geology; and Mathematics as they pertain to space, its bodies, and relevant physical processes. Recipients must show original and significant contributions to their field as measured in their scholarly publications. The prize is made possible by a generous gift to the University by Dr. Ralph B. Baldwin. Members of the Baldwin family often attend the lecture.
Dr. Roettenbacher is now at Stockholm University.
Prof. Lee Hartmann presented a talk titled “Making Stars and Planets” on April 11, on the 10th floor of Weiser Hall. Prof. Hartmann is one of the preeminent leaders in the field of star and planet formation. His work, and his mentorship of many students and early career researchers will have a deep and lasting effect on this field. He currently holds the Leo Goldberg Collegiate Professorship. Among his many and varied accomplishments, Leo Goldberg was director of the observatories at the University of Michigan from 1948 to 1960, and director of the Kitt Peak observatory from 1971 to 1977. His work helped lay the foundations for to make the department what it is today, and to build the wider observational astronomy community.
2018 Undergraduate Poster Session
April always brings the Undergraduate Student Research Poster Session. Undergraduate majors and minors prepare posters about their research and present them at a poster fair that is open to the public. Students get practice communicating about their research with a wide audience. Family members often attend, along with most members of the Department of Astronomy, including many of their peers. The 2018 poster session featured work by 37 of our undergraduates, and was held in the Michigan League.
Statewide Astronomy Night
We had a record number of visitors to Statewide Astronomy Night at the Detroit Observatory in Ann Arbor on April 20. 247 people waited up to an hour and a half to get a look through the 1857 Fitz refractor. While they waited, visitors were able to participate in a wide variety of other activities. The UM Museum of Natural History brought their walk-up planetarium, and answered visitor questions about the night sky. It’s the only planetarium they have until the new one opens in the Biological Sciences building, next year. Docents were available throughout the building to answer questions about what life was like for early students and faculty at the University, and how the building established UM as a research university.
Out on the lawn, Mary Stewart Adams, who was essential in establishing the Headlands as a dark sky park in Emmet County, mi, and author of a storyteller's guide to the night sky on Interlochen Public Radio, told stories about the night sky. She joined Prof. Sally Oey with demonstrations about the importance and ease of preserving our night sky and using sensible outdoor lighting. A small ‘scope was also available on the lawn for visitors to get a look at Venus and the Moon.
Over in Angell Hall, the Univesity Lowbrow Astronomers had a good turnout for the presentation by Richard D'Souza, titled "Galactic Archaeology, Or What Did Your Galaxy Eat For Dinner?". The audience was engaged and asked lots of questions, so the presentation ran longer than expected.
Hugh Aller Retires
On April 25 we celebrated the career of Hugh Aller. He will retire at the end of this academic year after more than 50 years as a member of the department. He has been on the faculty since 1968, was a graduate student instructor while earning his PhD, and served as department chair several times. As he put it though, he arrived on campus newly graduated from kindergarten, when his father accepted a position as a professor in the department. In his long career here, he has taught thousands of students, and taken thousands of observations with the UM Radio Astronomy Observatory in Dexter, Mi.
The semester wraps up with commencement, on April 28. This year’s class will include 18 Astronomy and Astrophysics majors, 2 Astronomy and Astrophysics minors, 4 Interdisciplinary Astronomy majors, and 7 Interdisciplinary Astronomy minors. Event photos will be posted the following week.