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Sally Hunsberger

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 Lowell Observatory, 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).