North Carolina Astronomers’ Meeting (NCAM)

Saturday, 24 September 2016

2016 Speaker – Saturday Morning:  David Charbonneau, Harvard/CfA,

The Compositions of Small Planets

The NASA Kepler Mission has demonstrated that planets larger than Earth yet smaller then Neptune are commof around Sun-like stars. Although Kepler determined the physical sizes of hundreds of such worlds, we know virtually nothing about their masses and, by inference, their compositions.  For four years, we observed a carefully selected subset of these super-Earths withe the HARPS-N instrument, an ultra-stable fiber-fed high-resolution spectrograph built for this very purpose. I report on the constraints on the planetary compositions, and address the transition from terrestrial planets, composed of rock and iron, to Neptune-like worlds, which have accreted an envelope of primordial H/He gas. I will explain the essential role of the NASA Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), scheduled for launch in 2017.

Dr. Charbonneau is a Professor in the  Department of Astronomy at Harvard University and an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.  His research is in the field of exoplanets, especially in the detection and characterization of these worlds using transit techniques.

Dr. Charbonneau will also give a public lecture at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, 23 Sep 2016, in the auditorium of the Koury Hospitality Careers Building at GTCC.

NCAM is an annual technical meeting that seeks to bring members of the NC professional astronomy community together to network and share research.  The meeting usually draws 50+ attendees from institutions around North Carolina and surrounding states.  For the past two decades, NCAM has been held annually in late September or early October, and includes a plenary presentation from an invited researcher, short oral sessions scheduled throughout the day, and space for research posters.  We especially encourage presentations of student research.  The meeting also usually includes two special sessions:  the annual business meeting of the NC Section of the International Dark-sky Association, and a Center for Astronomy Education Regional Teaching Exchange.

Meeting Registration

As usual, there is no registration fee for the NCA meeting. We will have a sign-in table in the Koury Building.

We would like to get a reasonably accurate head count for the meeting, so that we can let the site committee know how much food/drink to order for break refreshments. Please let us know beforehand by registering through the Online Registration Form  if you are planning on coming. (Pre-meeting online registration is now closed.  If you still want to attend, come to the meeting Saturday and sign in then.) are Registrations for presentations should be completed by Monday, 19 Sep 2016 (THIS DEADLINE HAS PASSED). If you plan to come but NOT to present, we would still like for you to register beforehand – you can do this up until the 22nd of September.

Directions and Maps To The Meeting
The meeting is held in the Koury Hospitality Careers Building on the Jamestown campus of GTCC.

Local Lodging There are plenty of hotels around the area, use this resource to find accommodations if you plan to stay overnight.

Abstract Submission If you would like to present an oral or display presentation at the NCA meeting, please fill out and submit the Online Registration Form by Monday, 19 Sep 2016.  This Deadline has Passed.

Display Presentations There will be room for approximately 20 posters to be displayed. The available space is approximately 44 in. x 44 in.  Access to power and tables will be limited, but there is local wireless access.

Oral Presentations The proposed plan is for standard oral presentations to be 10 minutes including Q&A, though this could change, depending on the number of submissions. FINAL UPDATE –  7 minutes for the talk + 3 minutes for Q&A.  A podium/microphone/computer/projector will be provided for oral presentations.  A wireless microphone is also provided. Wireless internet access will be available in the presentation space.

Registration Forms are submitted to Tom English (336-334-4822, ext 50023).
You should receive confirmation of receipt within a day of submission – if not, call or e-mail to verify.

Special Sessions
The annual business meeting of the North Carolina Section of the International Dark Sky Association will be held during the lunch break.  NCAM also acts as a Regional Teaching Exchange for an ASTRO 101 discussion/presentation session (Part of the NASA Center for Astronomy Education) during the afternoon.  Anyone who currently teaches introductory college astronomy, or who expects to teach in the future, is encouraged to attend. (If you have ideas for the discussion, contact Tom English.)  You can register officially with the CAE for this session here.

Saturday Lunch Options include a variety of nearby restaurants.  Some of the attendees plan to place a group order in the morning to Jerusalem Market for box lunches. You will have the opportunity to indicate your lunch preference on your registration form, and if you plan to participate in the group order, you should bring payment to the registration table the morning of the event. On-site orders MUST be verified and paid for before 10 a.m.  All sandwiches from Jerusalem Market are served on thin, lavash bread with chips, brine pickle, and olive on the side. Lettuce and tomato are added to all sandwiches.  This year’s lunch options are:

  • $7: Falafel (Falafel Patties with hummos and tahini sauce.)
  • $8: Turkey (Oven roasted turkey breast with black pepper and provolone cheese.)
  • $9: The Turk (Soujuk, a spicy, dried beef sausage, sliced thin with provolone cheese melted on top.  Served with baba ghanouj and yogurt cucumber sauce on the sandwich.)

Meeting Agenda

Updated NCAM Agenda –  (full schedule for Saturday, 24 September 2016)

8:30 a.m. Conference Opens

Refreshments are available throughout the day in the display area.  Several display presentations will be posted in this area throughout the day.

9:20 a.m. Welcome and Announcements

9:30 a.m. Invited Speaker – David Charbonneau, Harvard/CfA, Title TBA

10:30 a.m. Break – visit the posters in the display area

11:15 a.m. Contributed Oral Session I

Building a Small Geodesic Dome Planetarium
Jeff Regester (High Point University)
The Robo-AO KOI Survey: LGS-AO Observations of Every Kepler Planetary Candidate
Carl Ziegler (UNC-Chapel Hill)
Faint Kepler Objects of Interest with Adaptive Optics and no Guidestar
Ward Howard (UNC-Chapel Hill)
Orbit of the Beta Aurigae Binary System from TCO Spectra
Kelin Kelcourse-Oquendo (UNC-Greensboro)
Polaris, the Nearest Cepheid, Spectroscopic Observations at the Three College Observatory

Anatoly Miroshnichenko (UNC-Greensboro)
Exoplanet Observations at an Urban Observatory
Joseph Holmes (Guilford College)

12:15 p.m. Lunch – visit the posters in the display area

1:15 p.m. NCIDA Meeting: The North Carolina section of the International Dark Sky Association will meet in the auditorium for a short business meeting.

2:00 p.m. Contributed Oral Session II

The Evryscope: The Data Analysis Pipeline for the First Gigapixel-Scale Telescope
Hank Corbett (UNC-Chapel Hill)
Spectroscopy of Pulsating White Dwarfs to Pursue Differential Seismology
Josh Fuchs (UNC-Chapel Hill)
A Virtual Survey of all Known Hot Subdwarfs with gPhoton: Searching for Pulsations
Thomas Macauley Boudreaux (High Point University)
A newly-observed bright eclipsing variable star: b Persei (SAO 24531, HD 26961, HIP 20070)
Donald Collins (Warren-Wilson College)
Chemical Enrichment of the Early Solar System
Matthew Goodson (UNC-Chapel Hill)
Cosmic-Ray Air Shower Modulation from Atmospheric Cooling in the Path of Totality of 21 August 2017
Enrique Gomez (Western Carolina University)

3:30 p.m. CAE Regional Teaching Exchange: Share your Astro 101 teaching ideas with your colleagues. Details TBD.

Planetary Lecture Abstract

Coming soon!