Dwarf Galaxies and Near Earth Asteroids
Wednesday, 28 June 2017 12:30 p.m. — 1:30 p.m. MST
AURA Lecture Hall
During and following my Canadian PhD (2000-2005) I have been working in star forming dwarf galaxies - dwarf irregulars (dIs) and blue compact dwarfs (BCDs), using 2-8m class telescopes to observe more than 200 targets from the nearby Universe (Local Volume and some nearby clusters). Using NIR surface photometry (including 3 Blanco runs) and VIS spectroscopy, I aimed to pinpoint their formation, evolution and relation to other dwarf species (dwarf ellipticals). I will remind briefly a few insights into this research, such as the physical and chemical evolution of star forming dwarfs, the "sech" fitting law (linking dIs to BCDs), the discovery of the dwarf fundamental plane (a powerful distance indicator for dwarfs and avenue to study the link between dwarfs and giants) and some insights into dark matter in dwarfs.
During my older Romanian PhD (1993-1997) and especially the last decade leading the EURONEAR project I have been working in small bodies of the solar system, mainly near Earth asteroids (NEAs), using 1-4m telescopes and in strong collaboration with amateurs and students. Using astrometry and larger field facilities for (p)recovery and follow-up (including mainly INT and including one Blanco run), we improved the orbits of more than 2000 NEAs based on direct observations and data mining (including Subaru/SuprimeCam), assessing the NEA distribution and serendipitously discovering 9 NEAs (first in La Palma, including the first Aten Earth quasi-satellite and involving a Chilean collaborator). Using photometry (lightcurves) and 0.5-2m telescopes, during the last years we surveyed rotations and physical characterization for more than 150 NEAs. Finally using VIS spectroscopy with the INT (first remote observations lead by a Romanian collaborator) we observed more than 100 NEAs (plus other exciting small bodies, asteroids in cometary orbits) for taxonomic characterization of their surface. Especially related to my solar system research, but also in extragalactic astronomy, Blanco/DECam and the future LSST could be some great assets.