Tweep of the Week: Patrick Gaulme

Still Life of Patrick Gaulme with Telescope. Credit: Arl Cope

Still Life of Patrick Gaulme with Telescope. Credit: Arl Cope

Our @sdssurveys Tweep of the Week for the week of March 27th is Patrick Gaulme, stellar and planetary astronomer and part of the observing team for SDSS. Patrick will be at Apache Point Observatory for part of this week, taking observations for @MaNGASurvey, @APOGEEsurvey, and @eBOSSurvey. Fingers crossed for clear skies, low humidity, and calm winds. Now we also turn the blog over to Patrick to introduce himself:


Hello, my name is Patrick Gaulme, I have been an SDSS astronomer for about two years. I am also a researcher in the field of seismology of stars and giant planets. I am science PI of a NASA-ADAP grant to study eclipsing binaries detected by the NASA Kepler space telescope, and PI of several observation projects with K2, the resuscitated version of Kepler.

I am involved in developing techniques and methods to measure planetary atmospheric dynamics with Doppler imaging in the visible domain. For this I am science PI of the NASA-EPSCoR granted JIVE in NM instrument project, which is a Doppler imager aiming at detecting oscillations of Jupiter and Saturn and measure winds of thick atmospheres in our solar system.

Tweep of the Week: Audrey Oravetz

This week our @sdssurveys Twitter account will be run by SDSS observer, Audrey Oravetz. Audrey is part of the staff of observers and fiber optic technicians (the people who plug optical fibers into the plates) working for SDSS at our survey telescope in Apache Point, New Mexico (our telescope is neither automated, nor robotic, despite the common misconception!).

Audrey Oravetz

SDSS Observer, Audrey Oravetz (she’s definitely not a robot).

Here’s Audrey introducing herself in her own words:

Hello. My name is Audrey Oravetz and I have worked as an observer for the 2.5m SDSS telescope for the past nine years. It was always a dream of mine to work at a high-ranking observatory. I enjoy working alongside my colleagues to output a high quantity of quality data for the SDSS projects.

I graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2007 with a B.A. in Astrophysics and graduated from NMSU with a M.S. degree last summer. My thesis (under the supervision of Dr. Rene Walterbos (NMSU)) was centered around the study of ionizing H-alpha photons within two star formation nebulae, NGC346 and NGC602, within the SMC.

Tweep of the Week: Anne-Marie Weijmans

The MaNGA Lead Observer, and our Data Release Co-ordinator, Anne-Marie Weijmans will be spending some time at Apache Point Observatory Dec 8-17th and has agreed to take over the @sdssurveys Twitter account for the trip. We’re hoping for some tweets about pie (as well as observing).

MaNGA Lead Observer (Anne-Marie Weijmans) plugging IFUs into an SDSS plate. Credit: SDSS.

MaNGA Lead Observer (Anne-Marie Weijmans) plugging IFUs into an SDSS plate. Credit: SDSS.


Dr. Weijmans is a Lecturer (Assistant Prof. for our US readers) and Leverhulme Early Career Fellow based at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. Her research interests concentrate on the structure and evolution of early-type (i.e. visually smooth) galaxies using Integral Field Spectroscopy. Before joining MaNGA she was a member of the ATLAS-3D survey, which was one of the first surveys to use this technique on a sample of galaxies.

Tweep of the Week: Sarah Jane Schmidt

In charge of the SDSS Twitter account for this week is Dr. Sarah Jane Schmidt, the Columbus Prize Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Astronomy at The Ohio State University

Dr. Sarah Jane Schmidt

Dr. Sarah Jane Schmidt

Dr. Schmidt studies the lowest mass and most numerous types of stars in our Galaxy – the M and L dwarfs. These types of cool stars have strong magnetic fields on their surfaces which results in special kinds of extra light from the stars, including dramatic flare events, which Dr. Schmidt works to observe and understand.

Within the SDSS collaboration, Dr. Schmidt has worked or is working on observing cool stars using spectroscopy from several different surveys:

1. A study of ultracool dwarfs with data from a BOSS (Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey) ancillary project

2. A TDSS (Time Domain Spectroscopic Survey) project looking at long timescale magnetic field variations on late-M and early-L dwarfs

3. Studying the colors of late-K and early-M dwarfs with measurements of temperature and metallicity from spectroscopic observations taken for the APOGEE survey.

This can all be summarised as spectroscopy of the lowest mass stars there are, and Sarah is most interested in using these to constrain the stars ages and how this relates to their magnetic activity.

We hope you’ll join the conversation with Sarah and other SDSS scientists on twitter this week so we can all learn more about the magnetic fields of the smallest stars in the Universe.

SDSS Tweep of the Week: Brett Andrews

This week SDSS scientist Dr. Brett Andrews is taking over our @SDSSurveys twitter account.


Brett Andrews is a postdoc in the Physics and Astronomy department at the University of Pittsburgh. He is working on the MaNGA (Mapping Nearby Galaxies at APO) Data Analysis Pipeline and visualisation tools.

Brett’s research focuses on understanding galaxy evolution, particularly the impact of metal production by stars, cosmological gas inflow, and galactic winds. He is interested in using the gas-phase abundances as a way to trace the relatively recent chemical enrichment history of a galaxy as well as the stellar abundances as a tool to provide a fossil record of the abundance of a galaxy over its entire history.

This week is the MaNGA Team meeting, being held at the University of Kentucky, Lexington Kentucky, so it’s a good week for Brett to take over the Twitter account.

So stay tuned for lots of extragalactic science this week from @SDSSurveys


SDSS at #AAS225 – Tweets by SDSS-IV Spokesperson, Jennifer Johnson

This week the SDSS Collaboration has a large presence at the American Astronomical Society‘s 225th Meeting, being held in Seattle, Washington.

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All sorts of SDSS related stuff will be going on at this meeting, from dozens of talks and posters, to demos of SDSS online resources at the SDSS Booth in the Exhibit Hall and not to mention the final data release from SDSS-III. Our “Tweep of the Week” for this exciting week will be SDSS-IV Spokesperson, Jennifer Johnson.

Jennifer Johnson is an Asssociate Professor in the Astronomy Department of The Ohio State University. Her science interests are in stellar abundances, the origin of the elements, nucleocosmochronology and the formation of our own Galaxy and Local Group. She is the Science Team Chair of the APOGEE survey of SDSS-III, and the Spokesperson for SDSS-IV (as well as working on APOGEE-2).

Jennifer Johnson

Jennifer Johnson

The SDSS Spokesperson has two main roles. She is the main person in charge of making sure the SDSS collaboration is running smoothly and fairly. As part of this, the Spokesperson Chairs the SDSS Collaboration Council (which has a representative from each institutional member of SDSS). This group are the first point of approval for requests for Architect Status (ie. people who have contributed so much to SDSS development they can request to be on any publication) and External Collaborator requests (non-SDSS members working on specific projects), as well as for drafting our publication and other collaboration policies. They also organise the annual SDSS Collaboration Meetings (the next one to be held in Madrid, 20-23rd July 2015).

The SDSS Spokesperson is also responsible for representing SDSS to the press and the public. As such she is responsible for working with the SDSS Communications Director (Jordan Raddick) to draft the text of press releases and maintain the SDSS website, as well as with the SDSS Director of EPO (Karen Masters) on our collective public engagement and outreach efforts.

Added: here’s a storify of Tweets by Jennifer during her week.

SDSS Tweep of the Week: Demitri Muna

Tweeting for SDSS this week is Demitri Muna, research scientist at Ohio State University. Demitri is interested in galaxy evolution and is currently working on a new stellar population synthesis code. He is designing an ambitious project called Trillian, an all-sky, multi-wavelength astronomy computational engine. Trillian was included in last week’s launch of a new project called Collaborate on Science, part of Mozilla’s Science Lab, and has support from the Center for Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics department at OSU. Demitri is interested in scientific data visualization and tools, and has played a significant role in web services for SDSS data. In his free time, Demitri also designs all of the plates for the SDSS survey and is an avid curler.

SDSS Tweep of the Week: Qingqing Mao

This week’s tweeter is Qingqing Mao, a graduate student at Vanderbilt University.
Qingqing has a wide range of research interests spanning from the structure of our Milky Way to the very large-scale structure of our universe. He has used both SEGUE and BOSS data for his research. Currently his main project is looking at how to identify cosmic voids – which are large underdense regions with very few galaxies – in BOSS data and use them to study cosmology.
Qingqing Mao

Qingqing Mao

Qingqing also participates in SDSS EPO, especially including social network activities and multilingual efforts. He leads our efforts to keep the SDSS Chinese facebook page and SDSS Chinese Weibo updated.
Qingqing has also developed an astronomy iPhone ap, which allows users to explore data of the Cosmic Microwave Background: CMB Maps.
He regularly tweets as @maoqingqing and his personal website can be found at

SDSS Tweep of the Week: Jonathan Bird

This week’s SDSS tweeter is Jonathan Bird, current the VIDA (Vanderbilt Inititative in Intensive Data Astrophysics) postdoctoral fellow at Vanderbilt University, and Co-Chair of the Disk Science Working Group for APOGEE.

Jonathan Bird

Jonathan Bird


Jonathan received his PhD in 2012 from the Ohio State University. His thesis focused on using numerical simulations to look for patterns in the dynamics and chemistry of the stars in disk galaxies which can be linked to specific evolution and formation mechanisms. He has used both APOGEE and SEGUE data to search for such signatures in our own Milky Way Galaxy.

Jonathan is currently working on generating mock APOGEE catalogs from simulated disk galaxies. Of the SDSS surveys, he is most connected with APOGEE, where he is co-chair of the disk science working group, but he is also hoping to get more involved with MaNGA soon.

Jonathan regularly tweets as @galaxyhistorian and has been working on some awesome visualisations of the APOGEE and SEGUE data sets, so keep your fingers cross for a sneak peek this week.

SDSS Tweep of the Week: Isabelle Paris

This week the Sloan Foundation 2.5m telescope at Apache Point Observatory will reopen and start observing for the new season. Did you know that all SDSS Collaboration members can sign up for nightly notifications of what the telescope has been observing?

The tweeter for this exciting week in the annual life of SDSS will be Isabelle Paris from the Osservatorio astronomico di Trieste (Astronomical Observatory of Trieste, Italy). Isabelle has been an SDSS member since she started working on her PhD with Patrick Petitjean at the IAP (Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris, France). The topic of her thesis was the cosmological evolution of the opacity of the intergalactic medium, which Isabelle studied using SDSS-DR7 and BOSS data. Following this Isabelle has a 2 year postdoc at the Universidad de Chile, and is now an External Participant of the SDSS Collaboration based in Trieste.

Isabelle Paris pictured here hard at work as a collaboration meeting in Pittsburgh in July 2010.

Isabelle Paris pictured here hard at work as a collaboration meeting in Pittsburgh in July 2010.

Isabelle is the Chair of the (SDSS-III) quasar science working-group and is also in charge of generating the quasar catalogues for SDSS. So I think we can expect to hear a lot about supermassive black holes and very high redshift sources this week.

Above,  Isabelle is pictured in July 2010 attending a BOSS Lyman-alpha Forest and Quasar Working Groups meeting in Pittsburgh.

SDSS Tweep of the Week: John Parejko

This week the SDSS is preparing for our telescope at Apache Point Observatory to come out of its usual 4 week summer vacation shutdown and get back to observing.

This period of shutdown is a very busy one for SDSS operations when a lot of essential maintenance happens. For example this year the primary mirror of the telescope has been given a new reflective coating. The timing of the shut down is set to coincide with the monsoon season in the South West of the USA – a period when the weather is often not good for observing anyway.

As part of the process of re-opening, SDSS Operations Software Guru John Parejko (who is usually based at Yale University in New Haven, CT) will travel out to APO. John has agreed to tweet what’s going on for us as our “Tweep of the week” while the telescope gets ready to start observing again.

John Parejko in front of the Sloan 2.5m Telescope at Apache Point Observatory.

John Parejko in front of the Sloan 2.5m Telescope at Apache Point Observatory.

John got his PhD in physics in 2010 from Drexel University where he used SDSS data to study the topic of Low Luminosity Active Galaxies (ie. how supermassive black holes which are only accreting a little bit work). Following this he was a postdoc at Yale University working on the BOSS (Baryon Acoustic Oscillation Spectrosopice Survey) data, before taking over responsibility for the SDSS telescope operations software two years ago.

John’s an example of someone whose been in the SDSS family for a while!

SDSS Tweep of the Week – Karen Masters

This week is the 2014 SDSS Collaboration Meeting which is happening in Park City, Utah. The @SDSSurveys twitter account will be “taken over” this week by Dr. Karen Masters from the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation at the University of Portsmouth.

Karen is the first ever “SDSS Tweep of the Week” – a new idea to give the SDSS Twitter account over to collaboration members for week long stints. We don’t expect to fill every week this way, but look out on the blog for introductions to future “Tweeps” from the more than 200 scientists involved in SDSS from all over the world.

As our SDSS Director of Education and Public Engagement, Karen is the ideal guinea pig for this plan. Karen is also a science team member of the @MangaSurvey part of SDSS so expect to hear a lot from MaNGA parallel sessions during this week.

Dr. Karen Masters

Dr. Karen Masters – SDSS Director of EPO and a member of the MaNGA Science Team

If you’re a SDSS Collaboration Member reading this and interested to sign up for a week please visit the Twitter Schedule on the Wiki (password protected site).