Fall 2013 Department News

Undergrad Minor Cassandra Lejoly attends DPS

Cassandra Lejoly is a senior at the University of Arizona, majoring in Math and Astronomy and minoring in Planetary Sciences and Physics. Thanks to travel funding provided by a generous donor, Cassandra was able to attend the DPS meeting in Denver to present her research on comet Halley. Cassandra has been working with Dr. Nalin Samarasinha (Senior Scientist at PSI) since July of 2012, analyzing images from the 1986 apparition. She has reviewed more than 380 images of the comet in an attempt to understand the morphology and rotational period of its jets. The next phase of Cassandra's research will be to import the data into a model to learn from where on the comet the jets emanate and to try to find the complete rotational modes of Halley. Cassandra explains that the rotational modes have not yet been completely modeled because of the comet's complex rotation, which makes it difficult to determine all components of rotation. Cassandra plans to attend graduate school to study planetary science and to pursue a career in research.