Eastern Alumnus and Local Astronomer Awarded Hubble Space Telescope Time
St. Davids, PA, August 18, 2015: On June 24th, Eastern alumnus and astronomer, Dr. Jonathan Hargis ’00, was awarded time to use the Hubble Space Telescope for his research on the formation and evolution of dwarf galaxies. Dr. Hargis' award is the result of a highly competitive selection process, where astronomers from around the world submit proposals to use the Earth orbiting, space-based telescope.
Observing time with the Hubble Space Telescope is in very high demand. Although only 3,600 "orbits" of time (one orbit is approximately 50 minutes of observing time) are available throughout the year, nearly 900 submitted proposals requested more than 19,000 orbits. A team of astronomers review and grade the proposals, awarding time to the highest-ranking programs. Dr. Hargis and his collaborators requested and were awarded a total of six orbits, and will receive financial funding to support their research.
"My colleagues and I are very happy to have been award the observing time" says Hargis. "Although we only requested a small amount of time, it is exactly what we need to accomplish the aims of our program." Dr. Hargis will use the time to study the various populations of stars in a dwarf galaxy discovered by his collaborators -- named "Antlia B" after the constellation Antlia it in which it was discovered. Studying the stellar populations of Antlia B will yield insights into the physical processes of star formation in this galaxy. "I am interested in understanding how the smallest galaxies in the universe form, grow, and change over cosmic time" says Hargis. "Astronomers have a general picture of what this looks like, but the details are not well understood."
Dr. Jonathan Hargis is currently a Senior Research Associate and Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Haverford College. He works primarily with Haverford Professor Beth Willman, who leads an international team of astronomers studying dwarf galaxies in the nearby universe. Dr. Hargis graduated with a B.A. in astronomy from Eastern (College) in 2000 under the guidance of Dr. David Bradstreet. Dr. Hargis subsequently earned Master's degrees in astronomy from San Diego State University and Indiana University, and a Ph.D. in astronomy from Indiana University.