I have been a postdoc at Berkeley since July of 2005. My time is mostly spent working on HI data of one type or another. My supervisor is Dr. Eric Korpela.
In early August 2005 I began my involvement in the GALFA consortium. I have been interested in the ISM since I don't remember, and there's a lot of expertise here at Berkeley on that topic. GALFA itself refers to Galactic Studies with ALFA, the Arecibo L-band Feed Array. It's a seven-beam receiver (plus the accompanying mess of electronics ironically called a 'system') that, among other things, enables HI to be mapped rather quickly. The G in GALFA is just one of many scientific endeavours being done with ALFA, and the HI studies are but one component of the GALFA science program.
I am heavily involved in TOGS as well as other GALFA-HI projects. Check out the TOGS BLOG to see how I monitor Arecibo data in almost real time! My first observing experience with ALFA was project A2056, in October of 2005. The PIs for that project were Eric Korpela and Bon-Chul Koo. I also ran some tests while there, trying to figure out how to do off-meridian basketweaving with parallactic angle tracking.
The latest HI observing project I am involved with is A2174, for which the PIs are Lewis Knee and James DiFrancesco.
SETHI is so named because it is a database of HI spectral line emission profiles measured by the SETI SERENDIP spectrometer. It is these same data that go on to comprise the work units for the popular SETI@home project. But the HI line is not a signal from intelligent populations; rather, it results from a hyperfine transition in the ground state of neutral atomic hydrogen, the most abundant constituent of our Galaxy's interstellar medium.
Preliminary work with the SETHI data has been done by Paul Demorest, including the creation of a database and some tools to extract spectra for analysis. So far the database has over 13 million spectra, and there are still a few tapes that haven't been processed. The combination of high sensitivity and fairly high resolution at the Arecibo telescope makes SETHI a valuable database for HI studies, although GALFA (see above) will surpass it in many ways. For a little more on this project, follow this link. A somewhat related project is Astropulse, which is under development by other members of the SETI group at Berkeley.
Are we really able to see all the gas that's out there in the ISM? For atomic hydrogen, the answer is probably. For molecular gas, the answer is probably not. While CO traces a great deal of the molecular hydrogen out there, there are conditions where it is not a great surrogate for H2. I worked on this problem quite a bit for my thesis, and since then I've branched out in a few directions to explore this problem further. One of these avenues has been a collaboration with Loris Magnani, where we have looked for OH in the vicinities of some MBM clouds to see whether the extent of OH emission goes beyond the observed CO emission. We have taken data at Arecibo and Green Bank. I was the PI for one of these projects, A2143.
UCB's Astronomy Dept has a good Events webpage to keep up to date on all that's going on here. Looks like I'll be taking the Hill Line a lot to get down to campus
Some telescopes I've visited can be seen in these pictures.
Here are some astronomical links which I use from time to time:
The IDL Astronomy User's Library is an excellent resource for data processing.
Canadian Astronomy Grad Students have their own CASCA Grad Student Webpage in addition to the grown-up CASCA Homepage. At some point I used to be either the GSC Chair, its secretary, its education commmittee grad student rep, and/or the rep for the U of Calgary. What the hell was I thinking?
I am a former Homestudy Tutor for Astronomy courses at Athabasca University.
The ADS Abstract Service and LANL Preprint Service are extremely useful. For published articles one can also use the U. Maine list of Astronomy Journals.
My published papers: 1, 2 , 3. Or just click here for something more up-to-date.to Kevin's Homepage