Published on March 6th, 2017 | by editor0
Giselle Galan and Kris Romich – Harvard and NASA through High Altitude Ballooning
We are proud to share with you some exciting news about two of our students: Giselle Galan and Kristine (Kris) Romich. Both worked with Professor Andrew Kruger on High Altitude Ballooning and both are now headed for outstanding summer research opportunities.
Giselle Galan was accepted to the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program at Harvard University. Mentored by Professor Kruger and our former Vice President Michael Davis, Giselle will be working with Dr. Vanessa Polito and Dr. Kathy Reeves at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics on a project titled “Searching for Spectroscopic Signatures of Termination Shocks in Solar Flares.” High energy plasma gets trapped in the Sun’s magnetic fields, and when those magnetic fields get reordered, it can result in a powerful explosion of plasma being sent into space called a solar flare. How the high energy particles are sped up is unclear, but it may be caused by “termination shocks.” Giselle will be using spectroscopic data from NASA’s Interface Region Imaging Spectrometer (IRIS) spacecraft to search for plasma flows, which could be used as evidence for termination shocks.
Kris Romich, who has just been accepted into the Society of Physics Students (SPS) internship this summer at NASA, will be working with Dr. Nicholeen Viall-Kepko at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center just outside of Washington, DC, on a project titled “Coronal Heating and the Origin of the Solar Wind.” She will be investigating why the Sun’s outermost layer, called the corona, gets as hot as a million degrees. Because the particles in the corona are at such high temperatures, they can escape the Sun’s gravity and create a flow of particles into space called a solar wind. Her research will address the cause of the solar winds, investigating which regions of the corona are accelerated to become solar winds and how this happens.
We are thrilled and proud of Giselle and Kris, and grateful for Professor Kruger, Professor Davis, and all the other faculty who helped these students.