October 27, 2010

CWRU Astronomers Earn ‘Architect Status’ in Sloan Digital Sky Survey

M101resized.jpg
M101 taken from Case Western Reserve University's
Burrell Schmitt wide field telescope near Tucson, Ariz.

Astronomy professor Heather Morrison and Case Western Reserve Observatory Manager Paul Harding have each been named to “Architect Status” in the newest phase of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey.

Hundreds of scientists in more than 20 countries worldwide are involved in the effort to map the distribution of stars and galaxies in our universe.

The Case Western Reserve University researchers were singled out for extraordinary contributions, a reflection not only of their expertise and capabilities but also their professional leadership and development, said Chris Mihos, chair of the astronomy department.

Morrison, professor of astronomy, received the honor for her work on the Sloan Extension for Galactic Understanding and Exploration. The program investigates the Milky Way’s structure, formation history; paths of movement, speed and chemical makeup of stars; and more for clues explaining the formation and evolution of galaxies.

Harding, Observatory Manager, earned the award based on his scientific and technical contributions to the ongoing third phase of the digital sky survey. He helped develop instrumentation critical to mapping the structure and dynamics of the Milky Way, find and characterize extrasolar planetary systems, and understand dark energy and the nature of the universe.

The SDSS project is a major international project surveying the sky and mapping out the distribution of stars and galaxies in our universe. It is one of the most influential projects in modern astronomy, and has revolutionized many areas of astronomy and cosmology. More than 400 scientists are involved the SDSS-III project at more than 20 institutions spanning the globe.

Posted by: David Wilson, October 27, 2010 11:51 AM | News Topics: Research

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