B. L. Babler

University of Wisconsin–Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, United States

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Publications (131)424.11 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Using high-resolution data from the Galactic Arecibo L-Band Feed Array HI (GALFA-HI) survey, we show that linear structure in Galactic neutral hydrogen (HI) correlates with the magnetic field orientation implied by Planck 353 GHz polarized dust emission. The structure of the neutral interstellar medium is more tightly coupled to the magnetic field than previously known. At high Galactic latitudes, where the Planck data are noise-dominated, the HI data provide an independent constraint on the Galactic magnetic field orientation, and hence the local dust polarization angle. We detect strong cross-correlations between template maps constructed from estimates of dust intensity combined with either HI-derived angles, starlight polarization angles, or Planck 353 GHz angles. The HI data thus provide a new tool in the search for inflationary gravitational wave B-mode polarization in the cosmic microwave background, which is currently limited by dust foreground contamination.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · Physical Review Letters
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Using high-resolution data from the Galactic Arecibo L-Band Feed Array HI (GALFA-HI) survey, we show that linear structure in Galactic neutral hydrogen (HI) correlates with the magnetic field orientation implied by Planck 353 GHz polarized dust emission. The structure of the neutral interstellar medium is more tightly coupled to the magnetic field than previously known. At high Galactic latitudes, where the Planck data are noise-dominated, the HI data provide an independent constraint on the Galactic magnetic field orientation, and hence the local dust polarization angle. We detect strong cross-correlations between template maps constructed from estimates of dust intensity combined with either HI-derived angles, starlight polarization angles, or Planck 353 GHz angles. The HI data thus provide a new tool in the search for inflationary gravitational wave B-mode polarization in the cosmic microwave background, which is currently limited by dust foreground contamination.
    Preview · Article · Aug 2015
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We present the first detection of HCO$^+$ absorption in the Magellanic System. Using the Australia Telescope Compact Array (ATCA), we observed 9 extragalactic radio continuum sources behind the Magellanic System and detected HCO$^+$ absorption towards one source located behind the leading edge of the Magellanic Bridge. The detection is located at LSR velocity of $v=214.0 \pm 0.4\rm\,km\,s^{-1}$, with a full width at half maximum of $\Delta v=4.5\pm 1.0\rm\,km\,s^{-1}$ and optical depth of $\tau(\rm HCO^+)=0.10\pm 0.02$. Although there is abundant neutral hydrogen (HI) surrounding the sightline in position-velocity space, at the exact location of the absorber the HI column density is low, $<10^{20}\rm\,cm^{-2}$, and there is little evidence for dust or CO emission from Planck observations. While the origin and survival of molecules in such a diffuse environment remains unclear, dynamical events such as HI flows and cloud collisions in this interacting system likely play an important role.
    Preview · Article · Jun 2015 · The Astrophysical Journal
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    Full-text · Dataset · Apr 2015
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We present methods and results from "21-cm Spectral Line Observations of Neutral Gas with the EVLA" (21-SPONGE), a large survey for Galactic neutral hydrogen (HI) absorption with the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA). With the upgraded capabilities of the VLA, we reach median root-mean-square (RMS) noise in optical depth of $\sigma_{\tau}=9\times 10^{-4}$ per $0.42\rm\,km\,s^{-1}$ channel for the 31 sources presented here. Upon completion, 21-SPONGE will be the largest HI absorption survey with this high sensitivity. We discuss the observations and data reduction strategies, as well as line fitting techniques. We prove that the VLA bandpass is stable enough to detect broad, shallow lines associated with warm HI, and show that bandpass observations can be combined in time to reduce spectral noise. In combination with matching HI emission profiles from the Arecibo Observatory ($\sim3.5'$ angular resolution), we estimate excitation (or spin) temperatures ($\rm T_s$) and column densities for Gaussian components fitted to sightlines along which we detect HI absorption (30/31). We measure temperatures up to $\rm T_s\sim1500\rm\,K$ for individual lines, showing that we can probe the thermally unstable interstellar medium (ISM) directly. However, we detect fewer of these thermally unstable components than expected from previous observational studies. We probe a wide range in column density between $\sim10^{16}$ and $>10^{21}\rm\,cm^{-2}$ for individual HI clouds. In addition, we reproduce the trend between cold gas fraction and average $\rm T_s$ found by synthetic observations of a hydrodynamic ISM simulation by Kim et al. (2014). Finally, we investigate methods for estimating HI $\rm T_s$ and discuss their biases.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2015 · The Astrophysical Journal
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Observations from the HERschel Inventory of the Agents of Galaxy Evolution (HERITAGE) have been used to identify dusty populations of sources in the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds (LMC and SMC). We conducted the study using the HERITAGE catalogs of point sources available from the Herschel Science Center from both the Photodetector Array Camera and Spectrometer (PACS; 100 and 160 mu m) and Spectral and Photometric Imaging Receiver (SPIRE; 250, 350, and 500 mu m) cameras. These catalogs are matched to each other to create a Herschel band-merged catalog and then further matched to archival Spitzer IRAC and MIPS catalogs from the Spitzer Surveying the Agents of Galaxy Evolution (SAGE) and SAGE-SMC surveys to create single mid- to far-infrared (far-IR) point source catalogs that span the wavelength range from 3.6 to 500 mu m. There are 35,322 unique sources in the LMC and 7503 in the SMC. To be bright in the FIR, a source must be very dusty, and so the sources in the HERITAGE catalogs represent the dustiest populations of sources. The brightest HERITAGE sources are dominated by young stellar objects (YSOs), and the dimmest by background galaxies. We identify the sources most likely to be background galaxies by first considering their morphology (distant galaxies are point-like at the resolution of Herschel) and then comparing the flux distribution to that of the Herschel Astrophysical Terahertz Large Area Survey (ATLAS) survey of galaxies. We find a total of 9745 background galaxy candidates in the LMC HERITAGE images and 5111 in the SMC images, in agreement with the number predicted by extrapolating from the ATLAS flux distribution. The majority of the Magellanic Cloud-residing sources are either very young, embedded forming stars or dusty clumps of the interstellar medium. Using the presence of 24 mu m emission as a tracer of star formation, we identify 3518 YSO candidates in the LMC and 663 in the SMC. There are far fewer far-IR bright YSOs in the SMC than the LMC due to both the SMC's smaller size and its lower dust content. The YSO candidate lists may be contaminated at low flux levels by background galaxies, and so we differentiate between sources with a high ("probable") and moderate ("possible") likelihood of being a YSO. There are 2493/425 probable YSO candidates in the LMC/SMC. Approximately 73% of the Herschel YSO candidates are newly identified in the LMC, and 35% in the SMC. We further identify a small population of dusty objects in the late stages of stellar evolution including extreme and post-asymptotic giant branch, planetary nebulae, and supernova remnants. These populations are identified by matching the HERITAGE catalogs to lists of previously identified objects in the literature. Approximately half of the LMC sources and one quarter of the SMC sources are too faint to obtain accurate ample FIR photometry and are unclassified.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2014 · The Astronomical Journal
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The HPOL spectropolarimeter, previously operated by the University of Wisconsin at Pine Bluff Observatory (PBO), has been restored and relocated to the University of Toledo's Ritter Observatory. We achieved first light with HPOL at Ritter Observatory on 2012 March 11. We present a detailed instrument description of HPOL in its current configuration at Ritter Observatory, and a description of the standard observing procedure. We performed frequent observations of unpolarized standard stars to calibrate the instrumental polarization. We present polarimetric calibration results for observations spanning 2012 March 11 to 2013 May 2. Our calibration work shows that the systematic uncertainties of observations obtained with HPOL at Ritter Observatory are comparable to, and sometimes outperform, the systematic uncertainties obtained at PBO. We have successfully recommissioned the HPOL spectropolarimeter at Ritter Observatory, making it once again available for ongoing science observations.
    Preview · Article · Dec 2014
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The spatial variations of the gas-to-dust ratio (GDR) provide constraints on the chemical evolution and lifecycle of dust in galaxies. We examine the relation between dust and gas at 10-50 pc resolution in the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds (LMC and SMC) based on Herschel far-infrared (FIR), H I 21 cm, CO, and Halpha observations. In the diffuse atomic ISM, we derive the gas-to-dust ratio as the slope of the dust-gas relation and find gas-to-dust ratios of 380+250-130 in the LMC, and 1200+1600-420 in the SMC, not including helium. The atomic-to-molecular transition is located at dust surface densities of 0.05 Mo pc-2 in the LMC and 0.03 Mo pc-2 in the SMC, corresponding to AV ~ 0.4 and 0.2, respectively. We investigate the range of CO-to-H2 conversion factor to best account for all the molecular gas in the beam of the observations, and find upper limits on XCO to be 6x1020 cm-2 K-1 km-1 s in the LMC (Z=0.5Zo) at 15 pc resolution, and 4x 1021 cm-2 K-1 km-1 s in the SMC (Z=0.2Zo) at 45 pc resolution. In the LMC, the slope of the dust-gas relation in the dense ISM is lower than in the diffuse ISM by a factor ~2, even after accounting for the effects of CO-dark H2 in the translucent envelopes of molecular clouds. Coagulation of dust grains and the subsequent dust emissivity increase in molecular clouds, and/or accretion of gas-phase metals onto dust grains, and the subsequent dust abundance (dust-to-gas ratio) increase in molecular clouds could explain the observations. In the SMC, variations in the dust-gas slope caused by coagulation or accretion are degenerate with the effects of CO-dark H2. Within the expected 5--20 times Galactic XCO range, the dust-gas slope can be either constant or decrease by a factor of several across ISM phases. Further modeling and observations are required to break the degeneracy between dust grain coagulation, accretion, and CO-dark H2.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2014 · The Astrophysical Journal
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We present the analysis of supernova remnants (SNRs) in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) and their influence on the environment at far-infrared (FIR) and submillimeter wavelengths. We use new observations obtained with the {\it Herschel} Space Observatory and archival data obtained with the {\it Spitzer} Space Telescope, to make the first FIR atlas of these objects. The SNRs are not clearly discernible at FIR wavelengths, however their influence becomes apparent in maps of dust mass and dust temperature, which we constructed by fitting a modified black-body to the observed spectral energy distribution in each sightline. Most of the dust that is seen is pre-existing interstellar dust in which SNRs leave imprints. The temperature maps clearly reveal SNRs heating surrounding dust, while the mass maps indicate the removal of 3.7$^{+7.5}_{-2.5}$ M$_{\odot}$ of dust per SNR. This agrees with the calculations by others that significant amounts of dust are sputtered by SNRs. Under the assumption that dust is sputtered and not merely pushed away, we estimate a dust destruction rate in the LMC of $0.037^{+0.075}_{-0.025}$ M$_\odot$ yr$^{-1}$ due to SNRs, yielding an average lifetime for interstellar dust of $2^{+4.0}_{-1.3}\times10^7$ yr. We conclude that sputtering of dust by SNRs may be an important ingredient in models of galactic evolution, that supernovae may destroy more dust than they produce, and that they therefore may not be net producers of long lived dust in galaxies.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2014 · The Astrophysical Journal
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We present a new algorithm, named Autonomous Gaussian Decomposition (AGD), for automatically decomposing spectra into Gaussian components. AGD uses derivative spectroscopy and machine learning to provide optimized guesses for the number of Gaussian components in the data, and also their locations, widths, and amplitudes. We test AGD and find that it produces results comparable to human-derived solutions on 21cm absorption spectra from the 21cm SPectral line Observations of Neutral Gas with the EVLA (21-SPONGE) survey. We use AGD with Monte Carlo methods to derive the HI line completeness as a function of peak optical depth and velocity width for the 21-SPONGE data, and also show that the results of AGD are stable against varying observational noise intensity. The autonomy and computational efficiency of the method over traditional manual Gaussian fits allow for truly unbiased comparisons between observations and simulations, and for the ability to scale up and interpret the very large data volumes from the upcoming Square Kilometer Array and pathfinder telescopes.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2014 · The Astronomical Journal
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The dust properties in the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds are studied using the HERITAGE Herschel Key Project photometric data in five bands from 100 to 500 micron. Three simple models of dust emission were fit to the observations: a single temperature blackbody modified by a power- law emissivity (SMBB), a single temperature blackbody modified by a broken power-law emissivity (BEMBB), and two blackbodies with different temperatures, both modified by the same power-law emissivity (TTMBB). Using these models we investigate the origin of the submm excess; defined as the submillimeter (submm) emission above that expected from SMBB models fit to observations < 200 micron. We find that the BEMBB model produces the lowest fit residuals with pixel-averaged 500 micron submm excesses of 27% and 43% for the LMC and SMC, respectively. Adopting gas masses from previous works, the gas-to-dust ratios calculated from our the fitting results shows that the TTMBB fits require significantly more dust than are available even if all the metals present in the interstellar medium (ISM) were condensed into dust. This indicates that the submm excess is more likely to be due to emissivity variations than a second population of colder dust. We derive integrated dust masses of (7.3 +/- 1.7) x 10^5 and (8.3 +/- 2.1) times 10^4 M(sun) for the LMC and SMC, respectively. We find significant correlations between the submm excess and other dust properties; further work is needed to determine the relative contributions of fitting noise and ISM physics to the correlations.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · The Astrophysical Journal
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We use the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) to conduct a high-sensitivity survey of neutral hydrogen (HI) absorption in the Milky Way. In combination with corresponding HI emission spectra obtained mostly with the Arecibo Observatory, we detect a widespread warm neutral medium (WNM) component with excitation temperature = 7200 (+1800,-1200) K (68% confidence). This temperature lies above theoretical predictions based on collisional excitation alone, implying that Ly-{\alpha} scattering, the most probable additional source of excitation, is more important in the interstellar medium (ISM) than previously assumed. Our results demonstrate that HI absorption can be used to constrain the Ly-{\alpha} radiation field, a critical quantity for studying the energy balance in the ISM and intergalactic medium yet notoriously difficult to model because of its complicated radiative transfer, in and around galaxies nearby and at high redshift.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2014 · The Astrophysical Journal Letters
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We will report on the first year and a half of observations with the University of Wisconsin's Halfwave Polarimeter (HPOL) instrument at the University of Toledo's Ritter Observatory. HPOL is a medium resolution spectropolarimeter, providing wavelength coverage from 3200 angstroms to 1.05 microns with a 10 angstrom resolution. It was previously a facility instrument at the Pine Bluff Observatory (PBO) of the University of Wisconsin, going off-line in October 2004. We will present the calibration work performed to demonstrate the instrument and telescope stability, which is comparable to the stability of HPOL at PBO. Selected results from the first year and a half of operation will also be presented. The refurbishment of HPOL has been partially funded by a Small Research Grant from the AAS, and also by the Scott E. Smith Fund for Research at Ritter Observatory.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2014
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Spitzer Space Telescope Legacy Program SAGE-SMC allows global studies of resolved stellar populations in the SMC in a different environment than our Galaxy. Using the SAGE-SMC IRAC (3.6-8.0 μm) and MIPS (24 and 70 μm) catalogs and images combined with near-infrared (JHK s ) and optical (UBVI) data, we identified a population of ~1000 intermediate- to high-mass young stellar objects (YSOs) in the SMC (three times more than previously known). Our method of identifying YSO candidates builds on the method developed for the Large Magellanic Cloud by Whitney et al. with improvements based on what we learned from our subsequent studies and techniques described in the literature. We perform (1) color-magnitude cuts based on five color-magnitude diagrams (CMDs), (2) visual inspection of multi-wavelength images, and (3) spectral energy distribution (SED) fitting with YSO models. For each YSO candidate, we use its photometry to calculate a measure of our confidence that the source is not a non-YSO contaminant, but rather a true YSO, based on the source's location in the color-magnitude space with respect to non-YSOs. We use this CMD score and the SED fitting results to define two classes of sources: high-reliability YSO candidates and possible YSO candidates. We found that, due to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon emission, about half of our sources have [3.6]-[4.5] and [4.5]-[5.8] colors not predicted by previous YSO models. The YSO candidates are spatially correlated with gas tracers.
    Preview · Article · Nov 2013 · The Astrophysical Journal
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The GLIMPSE and additional surveys observed the full 360 degrees of longitude of the Galactic Plane with a width that ranged from 2-9 degrees in latitude using the Spitzer Space Telescope. Some regions of the survey include Spitzer MIPS 24 micron as well as the 4 IRAC bands (3.6, 4.5, 5.8, and 8 microns), while others were only observed in 3.6 and 4.5 microns during the “warm mission.” Here we tabulate and describe the different surveys and observing modes that were processed by the GLIMPSE team. We describe the data products (point source lists and cleaned mosaic images) and how to get the data.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2013
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Spitzer surveys of the inner Galactic Plane (GLIMPSE I & II) revealed a promising new diagnostic for identifying actively accreting (proto)stars: extended excess emission in the IRAC 4.5 micron band, believed to trace shocked molecular gas in active protostellar outflows. We will present initial results from our search for extended excess 4.5 micron sources in the outer Galaxy GLIMPSE360 survey, focusing on the area of the survey associated with the Perseus arm.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2013
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Based on the 3.6 and 4.5 micron images from the Spitzer GLIMPSE360 survey, combined with the WISE 12 micron image, we identified a sample of star formation regions in the outer Galaxy. We study their correlation with the CO clouds from "The Outer Galaxy Molecular Cloud Catalog" (Brunt et al. 2003; based on the FCRAO survey), as well as with known H II regions and masers. We investigate the CO and mid-IR properties as a function of distance and the association with various dynamical features in the Galaxy.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2013
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We characterize the completeness of point source lists from Spitzer Space Telescope surveys in the four Infrared Array Camera (IRAC) bandpasses, emphasizing the Galactic Legacy Infrared Mid-Plane Survey Extraordinaire (GLIMPSE) programs (GLIMPSE I, II, 3D, 360; Deep GLIMPSE) and their resulting point source Catalogs and Archives. The analysis separately addresses effects of incompleteness resulting from high diffuse background emission and incompleteness resulting from point source confusion (i.e., crowding). An artificial star addition and extraction analysis demonstrates that completeness is strongly dependent on local background brightness and structure, with high-surface-brightness regions suffering up to five magnitudes of reduced sensitivity to point sources. This effect is most pronounced at the IRAC 5.8 and 8.0 microns bands where UV-excited PAH emission produces bright, complex structures (photodissociation regions; PDRs). With regard to diffuse background effects, we provide the completeness as a function of stellar magnitude and diffuse background level in graphical and tabular formats. These data are suitable for estimating completeness in the low-source-density limit in any of the four IRAC bands in GLIMPSE Catalogs and Archives and some other Spitzer IRAC programs that employ similar observational strategies and are processed by the GLIMPSE pipeline. Point source incompleteness is primarily a consequence of structure in the diffuse background emission rather than photon noise. With regard to source confusion in the high-source-density regions of the Galactic Plane, we provide figures illustrating the 90% completeness levels as a function of point source density at each band. (Slightly abridged)
    Preview · Article · May 2013 · The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We study the emission by dust and stars in the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, a pair of low-metallicity nearby galaxies, as traced by their spatially resolved spectral energy distributions (SEDs). This project combines Herschel Space Observatory PACS and SPIRE far-infrared photometry with other data at infrared and optical wavelengths. We build maps of dust and stellar luminosity and mass of both Magellanic Clouds, and analyze the spatial distribution of dust/stellar luminosity and mass ratios. These ratios vary considerably throughout the galaxies, generally between the range $0.01\leq L_{\rm dust}/L_\ast\leq 0.6$ and $10^{-4}\leq M_{\rm dust}/M_\ast\leq 4\times10^{-3}$. We observe that the dust/stellar ratios depend on the interstellar medium (ISM) environment, such as the distance from currently or previously star-forming regions, and on the intensity of the interstellar radiation field (ISRF). In addition, we construct star formation rate (SFR) maps, and find that the SFR is correlated with the dust/stellar luminosity and dust temperature in both galaxies, demonstrating the relation between star formation, dust emission and heating, though these correlations exhibit substantial scatter.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2012 · The Astrophysical Journal
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We present a self-consistent three-dimensional Monte-Carlo radiative transfer model of the stellar and dust emission in the Milky-Way, and have computed synthetic observations of the 3.6 to 100 microns emission in the Galactic mid-plane. In order to compare the model to observations, we use the GLIMPSE, MIPSGAL, and IRAS surveys to construct total emission spectra, as well as longitude and latitude profiles for the emission. The distribution of stars and dust is taken from the SKY model, and the dust emissivities includes an approximation of the emission from polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in addition to thermal emission. The model emission is in broad agreement with the observations, but a few modifications are needed to obtain a good fit. Firstly, by adjusting the model to include two major and two minor spiral arms rather than four equal spiral arms, the fit to the longitude profiles for |l|>30 degrees can be improved. Secondly, introducing a deficit in the dust distribution in the inner Galaxy results in a better fit to the shape of the IRAS longitude profiles at 60 and 100 microns. With these modifications, the model fits the observed profiles well, although it systematically under-estimates the 5.8 and 8.0 microns fluxes. One way to resolve this discrepancy is to increase the abundance of PAH molecules by 50% compared to the original model, although we note that changes to the dust distribution or radiation field may provide alternative solutions. Finally, we use the model to quantify which stellar populations contribute the most to the heating of different dust types, and which stellar populations and dust types contribute the most to the emission at different wavelengths.
    Preview · Article · Aug 2012 · Astronomy and Astrophysics

Publication Stats

4k Citations
424.11 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 1993-2015
    • University of Wisconsin–Madison
      • Department of Astronomy
      Madison, Wisconsin, United States
  • 2011
    • West Chester University
      • Department of Geology and Astronomy
      웨스트체스터, Pennsylvania, United States
  • 2008
    • Vanderbilt University
      • Department of Physics and Astronomy
      Nashville, Michigan, United States
  • 1994-1995
    • University of Pittsburgh
      Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States