Thesis Defense by Iva Gerasimenko on April 20th
Space Studies master’s student, Iva Gerasimenko, will defend her thesis as follows. All Space Studies students, faculty and staff are encouraged to attend. Please show your support!
When: Monday, April 20th at 8:30 am (Central DST)
Where: Ryan Hall, Room 111
Title: Identifying “Bad” Asteroid Spectra: A Cross-Correlative Database Study
About the topic: Spectral reflectance data can tell us a lot about an asteroid without having to send an expensive spacecraft to it. Visual wavelength observations in particular can tell us about mineral composition of the surface due to diagnostic features for olivine and pyroxene falling in that range. It is therefore important for the visual wavelength data to be consistent among different datasets, however that was not the case for the asteroid 354 Eleonora. Three datasets – SMASS I, SMASS II and S3OS2 – all showed different spectral reflectance curves leading to different interpretations, which was a troubling discovery. Do more asteroids show a similar discrepancy in the visual wavelength observations? What could have caused them? Could it be a real difference in the composition of the asteroid or is it simply an error in how the observers took and processed their data? In an effort to answer those questions seven visual wavelength datasets were examined for consistency. It became clear that Eleonora 354 was not the unique case with thirty four other asteroids also showing discrepancies. Those discrepancies do not automatically mean that the collected data was ‘bad’ – by bad we mean data that shows phantom change which is only present due to observational errors – but encourage a second look at those targets of interest.
About the presenter: Iva earned a B.S. in Biophysics with Minors in Math and Chemistry from Randolph College in Virginia in 2010 with a goal to pursue research in the field of Astrobiology. In addition to studies she participated in an internship at NASA Goddard that examined lunar samples for isotopes, worked at SETI searching for organics in olivine crystals in an effort to answer the question for the origin of life on Earth, studied remote sensing data of Monterey Bay collected during Student Airborne Research Program and presented at conferences such as AGU, APS and LPSC.
******Those unable to attend in person may view the live webcast******
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