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David Bricker

Catherine Pilachowski
IU Astronomy Department

Last modified: Thursday, July 25, 2002

Students see stars in summer astronomy program

Despite spending four or more years studying astrophysics and astronomy, many undergraduates never get the hands-on, practical experience needed to prepare them for graduate school.

This summer, Indiana University and the National Science Foundation have partnered to give Rhodes College's Stacy Sidle and five other juniors and seniors the special astronomy and astrophysics training they will need as they embark on research careers.

NSF's Research Experiences for Undergraduates program engages the undergraduates in front-line research in astronomy. The students not only learn about doing research, but also share in the excitement of creating new knowledge about the universe.

As a part of the program, students travel to Kitt Peak National Observatory near Tucson, Ariz., to observe on the 3.5-meter and 0.9-meter WIYN telescopes, which are large research telescopes that Indiana University shares with the University of Wisconsin and Yale University. Student projects include studies of the brightnesses and colors of stars and star clusters, the compositions of stars with planets, and variable stars that experience periodic, giant explosions.

Sidle and the other program participants will present their research findings at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society in January in Seattle, Wash.

IU astronomy professors Kent Honeycutt, Constantine Deliyannis and Catherine Pilachowski oversee the program at IU. The program is supported by a three-year, $200,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. Additional support for the program comes from the IU College of Arts and Sciences and IU's Research and University Graduate School.

For more information, contact David Bricker at 812-856-9035 or or Catherine Pilachowski at 812 855-6913 or