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SURF: Announcements of Opportunity

Below are Announcements of Opportunity posted by Caltech faculty and JPL technical staff for the SURF program. Additional AOs for the Amgen Scholars program can be found here.

Specific GROWTH projects being offerred for summer 2017 can be found here.

Students pursuing opportunities at JPL must be U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents.

Each AO indicates whether or not it is open to non-Caltech students. If an AO is NOT open to non-Caltech students, please DO NOT contact the mentor.

Announcements of Opportunity are posted as they are received. Please check back regularly for new AO submissions! Remember: This is just one way that you can go about identifying a suitable project and/or mentor.

Announcements for external summer programs are listed here.

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Project:  Mapping Shock Energetics in Dying Galaxies with Resolved Spectroscopy
Discipline:  Astrophysics
Mentor:  Katherine Alatalo, Hubble Fellow, (PMA),, Phone: 626-304-0201
Mentor URL:  (opens in new window)
Background:  There are many ways a galaxy will transform from a between blue, gas-rich, disky galaxies to a poor red, gas-poor spheroidal galaxies. Our aim is to use a new tool aimed at identifying these “dying” galaxies to shed light on the initial conditions that ultimately determine a galaxy's fate in evolving into a "red and dead" early-type galaxy. The Shocked POststarburst Galaxy Survey (SPOGS: does just that, opening a new window on this important phase in a galaxy's life.
Description:  A student will work with Hubble Fellow Dr. Katherine Alatalo, as well as Jeff Rich (Staff scientist), Marja Seidel (postdoctoral scholar) and Anne Medling (Hubble fellow, Caltech) to map and characterize the gas of a subset of these identified dying galaxies observed with the 8m Gemini telescope, or as part of the MaNGA ( or SAMI ( survey.

We will request that the student analyze a set of about 4-6 galaxies with spatially resolved optical spectroscopy, starting with an analysis of a single well-studied galaxy. All data for the student will be reduced and calibrated, unless the student is interested in reducing and calibrating the datasets themselves.

The student will compare directly to the single 3" fiber spectrum from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), plus resolved photometry from a combination of GALEX, SDSS, PanSTARRS, and WISE. The student will use the resolved spectroscopic data to investigate the ionized gas emission, including how it is distributed in the galaxy, what the velocities are, searching specifically for outflows from AGNs. The student will also study the absorption features in the spectrum, which will allow us to map the stellar kinematics and possibly outflows using specific absorption lines (such as Na D). The student's work will fit in with the larger SPOGS team, opening up opportunities for follow-up (including being involved in future telescope proposals) and closer collaboration within SPOGs should the student be so inclined.

We envision that this work will lead to a paper, to be led by the student should s/he so choose, and will also naturally lead to a poster at the 2018 Winter AAS meeting.
Student Requirements:  Programming in either Python or IDL a plus, but the Carnegie Observatories summer program will teach you these skills.

Introductory astronomy and physics a plus, but not necessary.
Programs:  This AO can be done under the following programs:

  Program    Available To
       SURF    Caltech students only 

Click on a program name for program info and application requirements.

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