North Carolina Astronomers’ Meeting (NCAM)

2018 Speaker (22 Sep 2018) – Saturday Morning:  Gabriela González, LSU/LIGO

Gravitational Waves Astronomy

Gabriela González is a physicist working on the discovery of gravitational waves with the LIGO team. She was born in Córdoba, Argentina, studied physics at the University of Córdoba, and pursued her Ph.D. in Syracuse University, obtained in 1995. She worked as a staff scientist in the LIGO group at MIT until 1997, when she joined the faculty at Penn State. In 2001 she joined the faculty at Louisiana State University, where she is a professor of physics and astronomy. She has received awards from the American Physical Society, the American Astronomical Society and the US National Academy of Sciences, and is a Fellow of the Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. She has been a member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration since it was funded in 1997, served as the elected LSC spokesperson in 2011-2017, and is known for participating in the announcement of the discovery of gravitational waves in 2016. Her work has focused on LIGO instrument development (especially reducing noise sources and tuning alignment systems) and LIGO data calibration and diagnostics, critical to increasing the astrophysical reach of data analysis methods.

More information about Dr. González, and her work can be found at her page at LSU and the LIGO LSC page.

Dr. González will also give a public lecture at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, 21 Sep 2018, 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 (coming soon)  if you are planning on coming. Registrations for presentations should be completed by Monday, 17 Sep 2018. 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 20th 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 Online Registration Form (coming soon) by Monday, 17 Sep 2018.

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.  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.)  Session participants should register with the CAE beforehand – a link for this registration will be provided.

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 likely to be the same as in past editions (prices are from last year) – updates soon:

  • $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.)

2017 Meeting Agenda
(2018 will follow a similar format – abstracts are due in September and the schedule will be determined the week before the meeting)

NCAM Agenda – NCAM Program 2017

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.

9:25 a.m. Welcome and Announcements

9:30 a.m. Invited Speaker – John Mather, NASA GSFC,
From the Big Bang to the End of the Universe, and How We’ll Learn More with the James Webb Space Telescope.

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

11:15 a.m. Contributed Oral Session I – short presentations

1.1          The Applications of Deep Neural Networks to the Classification of Pulsating Stars
Presented by Thomas Boudreaux (High Point University)

1.2          Stellar Activity for Every TESS Star in the Southern Sky
Presented by Ward Howard (UNC-Chapel Hill)

1.3          AS 386 – A newly discovered binary system with a massive invisible component
Presented by Anatoly Miroshnichenko (UNC-Greensboro)

1.4          High Altitude Cosmic Ray, Temperature and Pressure Atmospheric Responses the Penumbra and Umbra During the 21-8-2017 Total Eclipse
Presented by Enrique Gómez (Western Carolina University)

12:00 p.m. Lunch – visit the posters in the display area

1:00 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 – short presentations

2.1          Meteorites:  the Gateway to STEM
Presented by Steven Singletary (Robeson Community College)

2.2          Connecting Above and Below:  Students Observing Human-made Satellites
Presented by Don Smith (Guilford College)

2.3          Eastern NC Observatory Roadmap: From the Construction of Observatories to Building a Network of Shared Resources
Presented by Charles Goodman (Pitt Community College)

2.4          Installing and Running Telescopes on Skynet for Research and Education: the Telescope Owner’s View (Joys, Frustrations and Laments)
Presented by Dan Caton (Appalachian State University)

3:00 p.m. CAE Regional Teaching Exchange: Share your Astro 101 teaching ideas with your colleagues. This year’s exchange will focus on post-eclipse ideas, issues with lecture tutorials and others collaborative exercises, ideas for transitioning from use of flash-based NAAP animations. Other topics are welcome. Additionally, a Share-a-thon table will be set up for sharing copies of assignments, labs, education research, etc.

Plenary Lecture Abstract

Gravitational Waves Astronomy

The first detection of gravitational waves in 2015 by the LIGO detectors, created by the merger of black holes more than a billion years ago, was followed by several other signals from black holes. In 2017, the merger of neutron stars was detected by LIGO and Virgo detectors and by the Fermi telescope, and was followed by many electromagnetic observations. A new era of gravitational wave astrophysics has started with very bright prospects for the future. We will describe the details of the latest discoveries and the exciting prospects for more detections in the next years.