When Sally Hunsberger is observing at Palomar,
California, or Kitt Peak, Arizona, she likes to
occasionally step outside and stare at the tiny
patch of sky where the telescope is pointed - only
to find it empty. But when she returns to the control
room, the images taken by the telescope are filled
with stars and galaxies. And she never ceases to
be amazed by the technology that brings humans such
incredible views of the universe.
Currently Hunsberger is a Postdoctoral Fellow at
having worked as a programmer/systems analyst for
many years before deciding to pursue her childhood
dream of becoming an astronomer. Growing up in the
60's (in Emmaus, PA, a small town north of Philadelphia),
she was naturally excited by the space program,
but it was a presentation in her junior high planetarium
that really triggered her desire to learn more about
the universe. She now holds a B.S. degree in Computer
Science (1975) and a PhD in Astronomy (1998) from
the Pennsylvania State University. Most of her research
focuses on compact groups of galaxies similar to
the Hickson Group in the Heritage image, particularly
their dwarf galaxy population and the influences
of interactions and mergers on these groups.
If she is not working, she is usually trying to
make up for a lost night's sleep ... but every now
and then she does find some free time to relax.
Then she likes to take long walks, read a good book,
or listen to music (particularly opera).