Robert Fesen is a professor of Physics and Astronomy at Dartmouth College where he has been since 1989. Like a lot of astronomers, Rob got interested in astronomy early. While in high school, his parents helped him purchase a small backyard telescope, and he quickly got hooked on astronomy. He received his B.S. in astronomy from Villanova University, a M.S. from the University of Hawaii, and a Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Michigan.
After graduation in 1981, Fesen took a two year postdoc position at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt MD, followed by another postdoc (which later turned into a research staff position) at the Center for Astrophysics and Space astronomy at the University of Colorado in Boulder. He stayed in Colorado for six years before moving back east to Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH.
He has been Acting Director of the MDM Observatory at Kitt Peak outside of Tucson AZ, and is currently on the board of Directors for the 10-meter SALT telescope being built in South Africa. Fesen's main interests lie in the field of supernovae and supernova remnants and he makes use of X-ray, ultraviolet, optical, and infrared observations from both ground-based and space-based telescopes. A current area of study is the infrared spectra of supernovae and their remnants. One of his favorite objects is the Cassiopeia A supernova remnant, which is the youngest known in the Milky Way galaxy and exhibits the highest expansion velocities. This object has also been a favorite of one of the other team members, Dr. Sidney van den Bergh, who did many of the important initial studies of the Cas A supernova remnant using the Palomar 200-inch telescope.
NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center
Jon Morse is a Harvard graduate, and earned his Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina in 1992. His research interests include studies of star formation, high-mass stars, supernovae and supernova remnants, and active galaxies. He is also the Project Scientist for the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph instrument that will be installed by astronauts during the next Hubble Servicing Mission. Despite working for over a decade with Hubble data, he continues to marvel at the astonishing details revealed in each new image, even within objects such as Cas A that have been studied for decades.
John C. Raymond
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
John C. Raymond is a noted expert on supernova remnants and the hot phase of the ISM. He investigates a wide variety of astrophysical subjects, including the solar corona, shock waves in interstellar gas, and binary systems that transfer gas from a normal star to a compact one. The common theme of these studies is comprehensive computer simulation of the optical, ultraviolet and X-ray emission spectra, and the use of the simulations to derive physical parameters (temperature, density, velocity and composition) of the emitting gas. The simulated spectra are used to interpret X-ray spectra from the CHANDRA satellite, UV spectra from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and FUSE satellites, and optical spectra from SAO's FLWO telescopes. The results are used to investigate the roles of physical processes such as thermal conduction, conversion of magnetic energy to heat, and transfer of energy between protons and electrons. The major effort in the past few years has been the analysis of UV spectra of the solar corona obtained with SAO's Ultraviolet Coronagraph Spectrometer aboard the SOHO satellite. This instrument provides the exciting opportunity to obtain detailed diagnostics of the regions in the solar corona where the solar wind originates. For the first time it is possible to study the physical processes, both steady and transient, that drive the solar wind.
University of Virginia
Roger Chevalier is the W. H. Vanderbilt Professor of Astronomy at the University of Virginia. After obtaining his Ph.D from Princeton University in 1973, he joined the scientific staff of Kitt Peak National Observatory in Tucson AZ. While at Kitt Peak, he undertook observations of Cas A with Bob Kirshner, showing the heavy element inhomogeneity of the remnant. He moved to the University of Virginia in 1979. His research has centered on theoretical studies of rapidly expanding astronomical sources, including supernovae, supernova remnants, gamma-ray bursts, pulsar wind nebulae, and galactic superwinds. His honors include Virginia's Outstanding Scientist Award (1991), the Dannie Heineman Prize for Astrophysics (1996), and membership in the National Academy of Sciences. Like Rob Fesen, astronomy captured his imagination from an early age.
Australian National University
Michael Andrew Dopita is Professor and ARC Federation Fellow at the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Australian National University. The School is located at Mount Stromlo Observatory, the home of the Hubble Space Telescope. *Dopita is one of the top international authorities in the general area of interstellar astrophysics. He has made fundamental contributions to research on astrophysical plasma diagnostics, star formation in galaxies, the physics of planetary nebulae, supernova remnants, active galactic nuclei and radio jets. His prestige and judgement were recognised by his appointment to the Hubble Space Telescope Time Assignment Committee.