(STScI/University of Cape Town, South Africa)
Benne W. Holwerda began working at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Md. in 2002 as a graduate student. In 2005, while still at STScI, he finished his Ph.D. in from the Kapteyn Institute of the University of Groningen. He stayed on at STScI as a postdoctoral fellow until Summer 2008.
His thesis "the opacity of spiral galaxy disks" dealt with the amount and extent of dust extinction in spiral galaxies. He is now employed in the Department of Astronomy at the University of Cape Town, South Africa.
The science team for the overlapping galaxies release comprises B. Holwerda and R. de Jong (Space Telescope Science Institute), W. Keel (University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa), and J. Dalcanton and B. Williams (University of Washington).
Dr. Holwerda wishes to thank J. Dalcanton for bringing this object to his attention. Benne remarks:
During the January 2008 American Astronomical Society Meeting in Austin, Julianne Dalcanton pulled me aside to show me some interesting Hubble data, of which these two galaxies were a contaminant. I had recently finished a paper on occulting galaxies found in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and she therefore knew I would be interested in an interesting galaxy pair found by Hubble. I asked her to dump the data and a color image on to my iPod there at the meeting. I then contacted Bill Keel from the University of Alabama who was also immediately enthusiastic about the object. We got to work and had a first draft of a paper by the June AAS meeting, a mere six months later.