DECEMBER 9 - 13, 2013
MONDAY, DECEMBER 9
11:00 am: Atomic and Molecular Physics Division Seminar. "A Novel Spin-Orbit Model for Stellar Magnetometry," Wilton L. Virgo, MIT. Phillips Auditorium.
Abstract: The Zeeman effect in the electronic spectrum of titanium monoxide is an important diagnostic tool for solar and stellar magnetometry. Computational models of the Zeeman splitting in the optical spectrum of TiO must account for spin-orbit mixing between excited electronic states. An advanced supermultiplet model based on ligand-field theory and spin-orbit interaction will be presented for predicting the Zeeman effect on TiO lines that are most sensitive to applied magnetic fields.
Noon: Solar, Stellar, and Planetary Sciences Division Seminar. "Icy Origins: Snowlines During Star and Planet Formation," Prof. Karin Oberg, CfA. Pratt Conference Room.
Abstract: In the cold and dense stages of star and planet formation, volatile molecules condense out on interstellar grains forming icy mantles. This condensation process results in a series of snowlines, or condensation fronts, whose exact locations are set by a combination of thermal and non-thermal adsorption and desorption processes. The icy grain mantles are also active chemical sites, resulting in a changing ice composition with time, typically to include an increasing fraction of complex organic molecules. The nature of these snowlines in protoplanetary disks are predicted to have large impacts on planet formation efficiencies, on the bulk compositions of the forming planets, and on the amount of prebiotic material available on planet surfaces. We have used a combination of IR and millimeter observations, theory, and laboratory experiments to characterize interstellar ices, snow line locations (i.e. where these ices are located), and the chemical and planet formation consequences of the exact locations of different snow lines. I will discuss how the outcome of these studies have impacted our understanding of ice formation during star and planet formation, and also future prospects as complete ALMA and the next generation of laboratory experiments come online.
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 10
Noon: Solar, Stellar, and Planetary Sciences Division Seminar. "Reading the Chemical Evolutionary Signatures of Dwarf Spheroidal Galaxies," Ben Hendricks, MPIA, Heidelberg. Classroom A-101.
Abstract: Dwarf spheroidal (dSph) galaxies are the smallest, closest, and most abundant galaxies in the Universe and therefore excellent laboratories to study star formation (SF) history and chemical evolution on the smallest scale. Particularly the newest generation of multi-object spectrographs have helped to unveil details about their dynamical and chemical properties in the last couple of years. However, there is still a lack of sufficiently large, homogeneous spectroscopic datasets for sufficiently many individual dSphs, and therefore we are just beginning to understand the physical concepts behind the observed properties. Here, we present abundances for iron (Fe) and three alpha-elements (Mg, Si, Ti) from high-resolution spectra for a large sample of field stars in the Fornax dSph. For the first time, we are able to resolve and trace the chemical evolution of Fornax over almost its entire age. Surprisingly, we find that Fornax experienced a very weak SF efficiency, not in agreement with either direct comparisons of observations in other dSphs, nor with chemical evolutionary models. The scope of this talk is to present the results from our chemical analysis and put them in a general context of our understanding of chemical evolution in dSphs, and its key-regulating factors. On this basis, possible (and impossible) evolutionary scenarios for Fornax are discussed and compared with model predictions.
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 11
12:30 pm: High Energy Astrophysics Division Lunch Talk. "Gamma-ray Bursts and other Exotic Transients," Dr. Andrei Beloborodov, Columbia University. Pratt Conference Room.
Abstract: I will discuss recent developments in GRB observations and theory, including the prompt MeV emission, the remarkable GeV flashes, and the recent detection of a double (optical + GeV) flash. I will also discuss some recent ideas about other types of exotic transients, in particular outbursts from white-dwarf mergers and superluminous supernovae.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 12
4:00 pm: Colloquium. "Planet Formation in the Kepler Era," Hilke Schlicting, MIT. Preceded by tea at 3:30 pm. Phillips Auditorium.
Abstract: In my talk, I will discuss recent insights that we have gained into planet formation from the Kepler Satellite and our Solar System. I will give an overview of the planet formation process and show how it compares with recent observations of Exoplanet systems discovered by Kepler. I will present a simple model for orbital resonances with dissipation and show that it can explain the surprising paucity of mean motion resonance among exoplanet pairs and discuss its implications for the origin of these systems. I will conclude with dynamical models and geochemical constraints from the Earth, Moon and Mars and discuss their implications for the last stage of terrestrial planet formation.
SAO HUMAN RESOURCES NOTES
2013 Annual CfA Service Awards
You are invited to join your colleagues from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 17, 2013 at Phillips Auditorium for the joint Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and Harvard College Observatory 2013 Service Award Ceremony. SAO employees receive service awards in 10-year increments, while HCO employees receive service recognition every five years. The following employees of HCO and SAO will receive awards this year:
Harvard College Observatory
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
Please join us to honor and celebrate with your colleagues upon reaching these career milestones.
Open Season for SAO Federal and Trust Employees
The annual Open Season for Federal and Trust medical, dental and vision insurance plans, as well as flexible spending accounts, will be held from November 11, 2013 through December 9, 2013. During this Open Season period, eligible employees will have the opportunity to enroll for the first time or change their health plan coverage for 2014. Eligible Federal and Trust employees, who wish to participate in a flexible spending account in 2014, must re-enroll online during Open Season. Please contact Linda McDonald at 6-7605 or Anne LeBlanc at 5-7371 with any eligibility or enrollment questions/concerns.
2013 Combined Federal Campaign of Eastern MassachusettsAll SAO employees are invited to participate in the 2013 Combined Federal Campaign of Eastern Massachusetts, which will be conducted during the period October 18, 2013 through December 31, 2013. Employees in Hawaii and Arizona may participate and designate local charities in their respective areas.
The mission of the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) is to support and promote philanthropy through a program that is employee-focused, cost-efficient, and effective in providing employees the opportunity to improve the quality of life for all.
All organizations listed in the CFC brochure have met the stringent application guidelines outlined by the Office of Personnel Management. For a complete list of the local charities in Eastern Massachusetts, please refer to the 2013 CFC brochure of Eastern Massachusetts.
A list of charitable organizations in Maricopa County, Arizona can be accessed at http://www.maricopacfc.org/ or the Arizona Combined Federal Campaign at http://www.cfcaz.org/. Charities included in the Hawaii-Pacific Area Combined Federal Campaign can be accessed at http://www.cfc-hawaii.org/.
Federal and non-federal employees may use payroll deduction, cash, or check to make pledges.
The pledge card is now available online. Employees in the following locations can access the pledge cards at the links below.
Trust Fund Leave Donations Needed
Nayla Rathle, a Trust Fund employee of the Solar Stellar and Planetary Sciences Division, has been approved as a leave recipient under the Leave Transfer Program. Any SAO Trust Fund employee wishing to donate annual leave to Nayla during her medical emergency may do so by completing a leave donor application form.
Please send your completed donor form (do not include your SSN) to Linda McDonald at MS17. Leave Transfer Program details can be accessed in the Employee Handbook.