Monday, October 29, 2007

Another Dr. Moran!!!


Monday, October 29
12:20 p.,m. Room 258, Phillips Hall (UNC-CH)

Ph.D. Defense

Jane Moran (Physics and Astronomy, UNC-CH)

Investigating the Circumstellar Environments of Young Stars with the PROMPT Polarimeter

Abstract: We have designed and built a prototype imaging polarimeter for use on the PROMPT robotic telescopes located at Cerro Tololo International Observatory. The polarimeter uses a Fresnel rhomb and wollaston prism to image two orthogonal polarization states onto a single CCD chip, with an image field of view of 10 x 4.5 arcmin. Using the polarimeter, we have investigated the circumstellar regions of 11 Herbig Ae/Be stars, and done extensive follow-up observations on 3 stars of interest: KK Oph, a well-studied star with previously limited polarimetric data; NX Pup, a star known to vary photometrically but with previously unknown polarimetric variability; and SS73 44, a star with very limited previous photometric data and no prior polarimetric data. We have found polarimetric and photometric variations in KK Oph and NX Pup that are consistent with models of dust obscuration. Both KK Oph and NX Pup show an increase in polarization accompanied by a decrease in visual magnitude and a reddening. However, neither star shows the "blueing" at deep photometric minima and maximum polarization characteristic of the UXor classification of stars. We have demonstrated that SS73 44 has an intrinsic polarization component, but does not display the photometric and polarimetric variations expected from a young star with an evolving circumstellar environment, indicating that this object either has a disk seen in an orientation that has little inclination, or one with no appreciable puffed-up inner rim.

My daughter just called. She's now Dr. Moran!

[Photo Credit: (top) PROMPT telescopes in Chile today. (bottom) Jane at the beginning of construction.]


  1. Congrats! That'll be me in a year or so with any luck.

  2. Congratulations!

    "Is there a doctor in the house?"

    "Several, actually..."

  3. Wow! Congratulations to her! I hope that I'll get to be the sort of proud parent you are today some time in about 25 years.

  4. Congratulations! If my experience is any indicator, however, it may take her a few months to stop giggling when the new title is used :) .

  5. Congrats to both of you! Thats great news!

  6. Congratulations Drs. Moran!

    Reading that abstract, I realized once again my knowledge of astronomy is woefully inadequate. Does the newest Dr. Moran have a blog, that I may be educated to some degree?

    The part I did catch was "we built a robot to take pictures at this really frickin' cold observatory so we could stay inside where it's warm". Works for me.

  7. Remember, I didn't do anything. It's all Jane's fault.

    I'm just the proud father embarrassing the heck out of his daughter by blogging about her achievement.

    Maybe she'll be too busy celebrating to read my blog.

  8. Congrats Proff. Moran!

    You must be immensely proud.

    Maybe one day your daughter will be giving lectures to a bunch of sleep deprived undergrads like you do in bch242.

  9. wow thats great prof. Moran!

    ah see? there was no reason to be worried!


  10. Fantastic! Congratulations! Tell her I said so!

  11. Congratulations to Dr. Moran and her proud father.