Students awarded research projects


Two University of Hawaii at Hilo astronomy students will spend their summer working side-by-side with some of the state’s leading researchers in their respective fields.

Krystal Schlecter and Emily Peavy are among the students accepting 2013 Akamai Internships who will begin work on their projects June 9.

The Akamai internship program, funded by the National Science Foundation, University of Hawaii, Air Force Office of Research, Thirty Meter Telescope and National Solar Observatory, provides internship opportunities in high-tech fields to local students. More than a dozen UH Hilo students have been awarded internships since the program was established in 2004.

Schlechter will work with UH-Hilo Physics and Astronomy Instructor John Hamilton of the PISCES project, gathering data for NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environmental Explorer Mission that departs for the Moon on Aug. 12.

Their research will employ the use of two 11-inch telescopes and high-speed video cameras to measure the impact and frequency of meteor strikes on the non-illuminated side of the moon. The findings will help NASA scientists determine how safe living on the lunar surface is.

Peavy will work with Mark Chun of the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy in Hilo. She will develop a “table-top” adaptive optics system similar to those being used at large astronomical telescopes to correct for the blurring effects of the Earth’s atmosphere. She will integrate the components of the “bench-top” system and characterize its performance in the lab. With this project, she will lay the foundation for future telescope experiments on Mauna Kea.

 

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