Staff Scientist Eric Christensen is Director of the Catalina Sky Survey for near-Earth objects. He returned to LPL in 2012 after a 5-year stay in Chile at the Gemini South Observatory, where he was part of the science operations group responsible for daytime and nighttime operations of the telescope and instruments.
The UA Campus played host again this spring to the annual Tucson Festival of Books. This year's event, the sixth annual festival, was held March 15-16, 2014. The Tucson Festival of Books is free and open to the public. It has become one of the most anticipated and well attended book fairs in the U.S., attracting approximately 100,000 attendees, 450 authors, and 300 exhibitors.
What could make Opening Day at an Arizona Diamondbacks game even better? That would be catching a foul ball and making it look easy! Nice job, Professor Swindle!
But wait...lightning strikes twice! There is no video confirmation, but reports indicate that Tim Swindle caught a second line-drive foul ball at the Arizona Diamondbacks game on Sunday, April 13. Good to know that our Head and Director might have an alternate career path in case of a bad funding year.
The Catalina Sky Survey Team (CSS) reached an important milestone, and also discovered two highly unusual asteroids in the last few months. The milestone was that CSS discovered its 5000th Near-Earth Object (NEO). On March 31, CSS Astronomer Jess Johnson discovered NEO 2014 FS52 using the 60" reflector on Mt. Lemmon. According to CSS PI Eric Christensen, "This is a fairly ordinary NEO, but an extraordinary statistic!
Congratulations to Ken Domanik, recipient of this year's LPL Appointed Personnel Staff Excellence Award, and to Bertha Orosco, recipient of the 2014 Classified Staff Excellence Award!
Christa L. Van Laerhoven successfully defended her dissertation titled "Multi-Planet Extra-Solar Systems: Tides and Classical Secular Theory" on April 16. Christa began her career as a graduate student in 2008, with two years of support from a Canadian NSERC (National Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada) Fellowship.
LPL’s Catalina Sky Survey is providing data to Planetary Resources, Inc. in an effort to improve detection of NEOs. Planetary Resources is a private company committed to utilization of resources in space. The president is Chris Lewicki, whose LPL connections stretch back to his days as an undergraduate working with Bill Boynton’s group, and their advisory board includes LPL alums Tom Jones and Mark Sykes.
The Art Of Planetary Science: An Exhibition – bringing together the art and science communities to engage the public.
by Jamie Molaro
321Science produces fast-draw and other formatted videos to explain concepts in planetary science and promote communication about and public engagement in the mission and Solar System exploration. OSIRIS-REx Presents 321Science posts entertaining videos about asteroid science and OSIRIS-REx mission information. Regular installments are posted to the OSIRIS-REx YouTube Page.