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From left, Aileen O'Donoghue, Heather Cutler '12 and Jeff Miller (Photo by Tom Balonek,
Colgate University)

Heather Cutler '12, Priest Associate Professor of Physics Aileen O'Donoghue and Laboratory Coordinator Jeff Miller participated in the 4th ALFALFA Undergraduate Team Workshop at the Arecibo Radio Observatory, in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, January 16-19, 2011. The National Science Foundation-funded workshop centers on research examining cool hydrogen in distant galaxies.

Cutler, a physics major from Waterbury, VT, also traveled to the observatory in November of 2009, to learn how to operate instruments for observation. During the workshop students had tours of the Arecibo Radio Telescope, the largest single-dish radio telescope in the world, and the opportunity to operate the telescope during observing runs. They also participated in "scavenger hunt" exercises designed to familiarize them with the operation of the telescope and the techniques of analyzing the data collected from it.

Cutler, O'Donoghue and Miller are now prepared to operate the Arecibo telescope remotely from St. Lawrence. The team has been assigned three nights of observing during February.

St. Lawrence is a member of the Undergraduate ALFALFA Team, a consortium of 16 institutions engaged in a program sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to promote undergraduate research within the Arecibo Legacy Fast ALFA (ALFALFA)project, an on-going blind survey of extragalactic neutral hydrogen (HI). When the survey is completed, ALFALFA will have detected more than 25,000 extragalactic HI line sources.

A graduate of Harwood Union High School, Cutler is a member of the physics honor society Sigma Pi Sigma; the student leadership honor society Omicron Delta Kappa and the women's indoor and outdoor track teams.

More: Physics Department Web Site

Posted: January 28, 2011


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