A Partnership in Observational and Computational Astronomy

Year 6 Summary

During the reporting period, three underrepresented minorities progressed toward advanced degrees. S. Hampton completed his MS thesis in April 2013 and graduated with an MS in astronomy from Clemson. He chose to purse a Ph.D. in theoretical particle physics at another university since Clemson is not involved in that discipline. A. Delgado-Navarro passed her Ph.D. qualifying exam and continues to conduct resarch on classical novae under Clemson collaborators Leising and Hartmann. J. Lamansigh did not complete his MS at Clemson because of a lower than required GPA. He did, however, transfer to Texas A&M University at Commerce in pursuit of an MS in either physics or astronomy.

A total of 9 undergraduate STEM majors were directly impacted by PAARE during this reporting period. This included 8 physics majors who received stipends and/or scholarships to study astronomy and one computer science student who did not receive PAARE funding, but did make use of PAARE-purchased hardware and software in her astronomical research project under Co-PI Cash. C. Kurgatt graduated in May 2013 with a BS in physics with the astronomy option and is now in graduate school in a related field, engineering physics. D. Nicholson graduated in December 2013 with a BS in physics and the medical physics option. She is currently employeed in the medical physics field. C. Laursen and B. Pugh will graduate in May 2013 with the BS in physics with the astronomy option. Their future plans are uncertain at the time of this report. S. Pokhrel and M. Adiharki will graduate in May 2013 with a BS in physics. They have both applied to several graduate schools in engineering. J. Eleby will complete her BS in physics with the astronomy option in December 2014. M. McKay has completed his sophomore year as a physics major with the astronomy option. He will participate as a 2014 summer intern at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Charlottesville, VA.

The research on Peculiar stars (R CrB and XX Oph), RV Tauri and Semiregular variables will lead to a better understanding of these objects. These stars have periods on the order of months and they show significant irregularities in their light curves compared to shorter period, well behaved Cepheids, making our objects more difficult to observe over a complete cycle. As a result, there are fewer in depth studies in the literature on RV Tauri and Semiregular variables. Our spectroscopic database from the Coude Feed was started more than a decade ago by Co-PI Howell, and has been extended under this award by PI Walter and others. This has allowed the researchers a long baseline from which to compare the spectroscopic changes and their relationship to photometric changes. Exisitng photometery from the AAVSO for some stars and new Kepler data has been combined with the spectroscopy. One paper on the subject (R CrB) has been published this past year and another, on the objects in the Kepler field of view, has been submitted.

Co-Pi Smith has developed inquiry-based labs, simulations and other curriculum products that have been tested and integrated into courses at SCSU. These products have been introduced to teachers in the K-12 and college community through workshops and talks, and some of the participants have begun to use these resources. These products will help communicate the concepts related to cosmology such as dark energy, dark matter and the big bang in a visual and comprehensible manner to novices and non-science students as well as science majors being exposed to the topics for the first time . Smith's resources will help overcome some of the fear and confusion these individuals encounter when exposed to more traditional material on the subjects. What is the impact on other disciplines?

SCSU faculty Cash, Smith and Walter continue to develop their professional skills through research, teaching and outreach. During the past year they have collaboratively published papers, presented at meetings and developed web-based resources as described elesewhere in this report. Their work has been in collaboration with PAARE colleagues at NASA, Clemson and NOAO.