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News & Events

Below you will find a list of our current news and announcements. If you are looking for past ones, please visit our Previous News and Announcements page.

2020 News and Announcements

Young students are crowded around the LoCCST table at the UMass Lowell Field Trip Day. There are balloons on the table.
  • April, 2020: Sayantan Bhattacharya will present "Accretion - Wind Interaction In IC 10 X-1 : Black Hole+Wolf-Rayet HMXB" at the April American Physical Society (APS) meeting in Washington D.C.
  • April 7, 2020: The grand opening of the Schueller Observatory on South Campus has been scheduled for April 7.
  • February 25, 2020: LoCSST was honored to have provided Chancellor Jacqueline Moloney with an informational tour of our research center today! The Chancellor met with Professors Supriya Chakrabarti, Timothy Cook, Ofer Cohen, Silas Laycock, and Ramaswamy Nagarajan to hear about the center’s mission and activities and heard from students about our NASA SPACE HAUC Cubesat project. She concluded her visit with a tour of the lab housing our NASA PICTURE-C Balloon.
  • February, 2020: Congratulations to Thaddeus Potter for passing his MS Defense today.  He presented “Fabrication and Characterization of Optical Photodetectors using Organic Thermoelectrics”. Thad is working with the PICTURE-C team as he pursues his Ph.D.
  • February 2, 2020: A new story on PICTURE-C was published on titled "Balloon-lofted camera built to hunt alien worlds aces first flight."
The dome has been added to the observatory. The observatory currently sits in a field of snow. The Merrimack River is visible in the background. Photo by Thomas Weber

2019 News and Announcements

A gathering at the Japanese consul's residence. The woman in the blue is Japan's first female astronaut. The man next to her is the Consul General.

A gathering at the Japanese consul's residence.

Previous Events/News

  • November 15, 2019: Professor Supriya Chakrabarti gave a talk at the "Forum of U.S.-Japan Alliance in a new space age: Back to the Moon." Professor Ofer Cohen and several graduate and undergraduate students attended.
  • November 14, 2019: Professor Silas Laycock published an article for The Conversation's "Curious Kids" series, titled "Curious Kids: Why do people look into space with telescopes but not binoculars?"

Janalvin Arbiol (left) and Alexander Barr (right) are standing in front of their table and poster.

Janalvin Arbiol (left) and Alexander Barr (right)

  • November, 2019: Janalvin Arbiol and Alexander Barr from Mechanical Engineering present SPACE HAUC at NSBE's 9th Annual Soiree Elegance Event held at UMass Lowell.
Sanjeev Mehta, Sean Freeman, and Sunip Mukherjee present their poster during the NEROC Fourth Annual Radio Science Symposium held at the MIT Haystack Observatory.
  • November, 2019: SPACE HAUC team members Sean Freeman, Sunip Mukherjee, and George Geddes discuss their poster presentation during the NEROC Fourth Annual Radio Science Symposium held at the MIT Haystack Observatory.
  • November 4-8, 2019: Supriya Chakrabarti presented SPACE HAUC: An undergraduate CubeSat mission to demonstrate high bandwidth communication using an X-Band phased-array system at the 4th COSPAR Symposium on Small Satellites for Sustainable Science & Development in Herzliya, Israel.
  • November 1, 2019: Sanjeev Mehta and Sean Freeman will present on SPACE HAUC at MIT Haystack Observatory for the 4th Annual NEROC Research Symposium.
Dr. Chakrabarti and Faculty of the University of Minho
  • October 31, 2019: Congratulations to Christopher Emma who successfully defended his MS Thesis "Investigation of Static Parameters for Space Weather Models".
  • October 14, 2019: Prof. Supriya Chakrabarti served as a keynote speaker for "Aerospace Engineering: Future Challenger for Teaching and Research" at the Engineering School of University of Minho - Azurem Campus, Portugal.
Supriya Chakrabarti, Kuravi Hewawasam, CHristopher Mendillo, Glenn Howe prepares for the launch of PICTURE C.
JFK Space Summit LoCSST Booth
  • September 28, 2019: PICTURE-C launched from Ft. Sumner, NM at 9:07 a.m. The mission flew all day and all night and terminated around 5 a.m. on September 29. It landed at around 5:45 a.m. in western N.M., about 220 miles from the launch site.
  • September 11, 2019: Edwin L. Aguirre published "A New Astronomical Observatory Rises on South Campus", an article presenting the new observatory at UMass Lowell set to be completed by the end of January 2020.
  • September, 2019: Congratulations to Prof. Silas Laycock and team who have been awarded observing time on the 3.5-meter WIYN telescope at Kitt Peak, AZ. This is in response to their proposal to observe X-ray binary candidates in the field containing the dwarf galaxy IC 10. The telescope will be equipped with the Hydra multi-fiber spectrograph. The observing run will be the nights 5-6 September; graduate student Ankur Roy and consultant Rigel Cappallo will support this.
  • August 15, 2019: Prof. Supriya Chakrabarti met with Minoru Ikusaki from the Consulate General of Japan in Boston to discuss plans for the upcoming U.S.-Japan Alliance in a New Age of Space Exploration / Space 2.0 Conference in November where Supriya will give a talk.
  • August 11-15, SPIE 2019:
  • August 5, 2019: Undergraduate Matthew Barr was elected to Treasurer of SEDS USA.
Dr. Supriya Chakrabarti and the students and faculty of Narula Institute of Technology
  • August 1, 2019: Supriya Chakrabarti gave a lecture on "The New Space: Trends in exploration with small satellites" at the invitation of The Institute of Engineers (India) in Kolkata, India, at the Narula Institute of technology.
  • July 17, 2019: Remembering the moon landing. Many faculty remember and share their experience.
  • July 2-4, 2019: The 8 meter telescope of the Gemini North observatory atop Mauna Kea, HI, obtained deep optical spectra for a slew of candidate extragalactic high-mass x-ray binaries. The observations are part of Prof. Silas Laycock's research into the birth and feeding of stellar black holes.
  • July, 2019: Ofer Cohen gave a talk at the Erwin Schroidinger Institute, Vienna.
  • June 19, 2019: LoCSST presented sample experimental work of our students at the JFK Space Summit at the JFK Memorial Library in honor of the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.
  • June 16: Supriya Chakrabarti was invited to The Institution of Engineers (India) in Kolkata, India to give a lecture on "The New Space: Trends in exploration with small satellites.
  • May 2019: Prof. Cohen visited congress member’s offices at Capitol Hill in DC as part of the AAS Solar Physics Division’s Public Policy Committee.
  • May 2019: Ofer Cohen gave a talk on High Altitude Observatory Colloquium.
  • May, 2019: Edwin L. Aguirre published All Systems Go! in the magazine "Elements of Science "which discusses LoCSST's research projects before, now, and going forward.
  • May 24, 2019: Congratulations to Master's Student Sayantan Bhattacharya for publishing his paper "Diffusion Coefficients and Constraints on Hadronic Inhomogeneities in the Early Universe" in the European Physics Journal.
  • May 20-21, 2019: Researchers from LoCSST presented at the International Space Weather Initiative workshop in Trieste, Italy
  • May 21, 2019: Susanna Finn presented "UV Observations of the Ionosphere from the ISS”
  • May 20, 2019: Supriya Chakrabarti presented "CoMIC: A customizable multicolor camera for solar-terrestrial interaction studies”
  • May 11, 2019: featured the article by Supriya Chakrabarti “Beanie babies the invention of cubesat and student designed and built satellites."
  • May 9, 2019: Susanna Finn was invited to Boston College Institute for Scientific Research to give a seminar "Observations of the Equatorial Arcs from LITES on the ISS”
  • May 8, 2019: Sarah Underwood, Honors College Student, presented “Building a reusable high altitude balloon”
  • May 6, 2019: Supriya Chakrabarti published his article "Beanie Babies, the Invention of CubeSat and Student-Designed and Built Satellites".
  • May 3, 2019: SPACE HAUC Communication Team Members Abdelali Mazouz, Alexandra Akinyemi, Hicham Ouadoudi, Jonathan Wamala, and Marci Foley presented their work at the Francis College of Engineering Senior Design Industrial Capstone Showcase.
  • May 1, 2019: Congratulations to Qusai Al Shidi for successfully defending his PhD dissertation. Qusai is heading to the University of Michigan to start a new position as a postdoc fellow. He will be with us until the end of May.
Graduate student Sunip Mukherjee presents a poster for his research "CoMIC A Compact Multicolor Imaging Camera" Photo by Supriya Chakrabarti
  • May, 2019: Congratulations to graduate students George Geddes and Glenn Howe on receiving fellowships from the Massachusetts Space Grants Consortium for the research work this summer.
  • April 12 2019: Andrew Burns presented Attitude Control System testing for the SPACE HAUC satellite at AE Research Conference.
poster for moonshot. UMass Lowell and the JFK library celebrate the legacy of JFK and the Apollo program. April 5th, 2019 from 10AM to 1:30PM at Moloney Hall, University Crossing

April 5, 2019: Moonshot event at UMass Lowell, celebrated the legacy of John F. Kennedy and the Apollo program. Below is a list of the exciting booths that attended the event!

  • Center for Space Science and Technology: High Altitude Science with Balloons
    Getting telescopes and cameras into orbit is expensive, but a balloon can get above most of the atmosphere, which can be enough to see into the ultraviolet or the infrared. Our scientists study exoplanets, the ionosphere, and even distant galaxies using NASA balloons. On a smaller scale, our students are working to create a reusable weather balloon system that can take a camera to 100,000 feet, track it, return by parachute, and recover the payload. At our station you will launch a miniature video camera to the roof of the building, and then view video footage of the flight! You will also test the technology used to track and recover balloon payloads.
  • Center for Space Science and Technology: Solar Observing
    Astronomy always seems to happen at night. But our nearest star is visible every sunny day! We are using our solar observing station to look for Sunspots, Solar Prominences, and learn about the surprisingly active surface of the Sun.
  • Honors Physics I Students: Video Trajectory Analysis
    Video analysis has revolutionized physics and engineering, making what were once complex measurements cheap and available to anyone. In our lab-course we use tracker software and cell-phone video to extract velocity vectors for all types of motion, and then compute the forces, to reveal the underlying physics. Similar methods are used to track rockets, spacecraft, near-earth asteroids, even stars orbiting black holes! At our station, we launched projectiles, videoed them and then analyzed their trajectories.
  • Department of Physics: Schlieren Photography
    As seen in a mirage, or above a hot road, small changes in temperature and pressure can produce visible distortions in images. By using a sharp object to “cut off” part of the image, and greatly increase the contrast, Schlieren Photography is capable of imaging even small fluctuations in temperature and density. This technique can be used to see pressure waves from a supersonic jet, or the heat from a cup of coffee!
  • Graduate Physics Association: Solar and Atomic Spectra
    There are many sources of light in the night sky, but depending on where the light came from, the intensity of the light at different wavelengths will be very different. Some sources produce sharp line spectra, with high intensity at only a few wavelengths. Others produce much broader spectra, where a large portion of the electromagnetic spectrum is emitted. We will be looking at several different sources, and what kind of light they produce.
  • Department of Environmental, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences: Earth Analogs to Lunar Rock Types
    When the moon first formed, it was covered in an ocean of magma hundreds of kilometers deep. As the magma cooled and crystallized, less dense minerals rose to the top and floated, forming the original crust of the moon, represented by the light-colored lunar highlands. The dark areas on the moon formed several hundred million years later when basins formed by impacting asteroids were filled with lava from erupting volcanoes. Ultimately, these processes left the moon with two basic rock types. We will see examples from Earth of these same rocks here, both as hand specimens and thin slivers for viewing with a microscope
    NERVE (New England Robotics Validation Experimentation Center) showed how robot grippers work and also demonstrated a virtual reality experience using the Valkyrie humanoid robot simulator.
  • Department of Chemistry: The pH of Martian Soil
    During the Phoenix mission to Mars in 2007, the soluble ions present in the soil were detected and quantified for the first time. This was also the first time that the pH was determined. Soil was loaded into a chamber on the lander and water (from Earth) was added. Through the use of ion selective electrodes, pH electrodes, and conductivity measurements, the different components that were able to dissolve in the water, were able to be determined. We will be looking at and measuring the pH of solutions of these individual components as well as the overall resulting Martian Soil solution.

View Photos of the event.

View the recorded Stream of the Event.

  • February 11, 2019: Qusai Al Shidi presented a talk entitled “Time-Dependent Collisional MHD Model of the Chromosphere” at the Harvard & Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.
  • February 7, 2019: Boston University Center for Space Physics Seminar Series – Prof. Ofer Cohen presented a talk entitled “Heliophysics of Exoplanets and Star‐planet Interaction.”
LoCSST representative demonstrating equipment for students
  • January 23, 2019: LoCSST students Sarah Underwood, Tim Barrett, and Rigel Cappallo, along with Profs. Silas Laycock and Ofer Cohen provided a Space Science Center booth at UMass Lowell Athletics’ Fifth Annual Health & Fitness Field Trip Day at the Tsongas Center. It was a high energy morning with over 3,000 third to sixth grade students from surrounding towns roaming the “Kids’ Concourse” before the River Hawks women’s basketball game. The kids enjoyed seeing their reflections in the giant telescope mirror at the booth. This brought them in to pepper the staff with questions about space, and to learn about how and why someone would become an astronaut. The ever popular "Fabric of Space Time" got stretched near breaking point as groups of kids explored how gravity causes planets to orbit the Sun, and why the moon stays with the Earth and doesn’t fall into the Sun. The activity serves as an ice breaker for discussion about Albert Einstein’s contributions and the significance of Emmy Noether, and how we may recognize one but not the other! Thanks to Emily Quigley at UMass Lowell Athletics for inviting LoCSST to participate and meet so many enthusiastic young people.
  • January 16, 2019: Congratulations to Saurav Aryal who successfully defended his PhD thesis entitled “Remote sensing of the upper atmosphere using ground-based imaging spectroscopy.”
  • January 6-10, 2019: AAS Meeting - Seattle, Wash. - Timothy Cook presented two posters: “A balloon payload for infrared stellar astronomy” and “Time-Domain Astronomy with SOFIA: Results from Current Observations with FORCAST and Prospects with the Proposed New Instrument S3
  • January 4, 2019: Silas Laycock and students used the 8-meter Gemini-North telescope (Mauna Team Hawaii) to observe the Cassiopeia starburst galaxy. Spectra for approximately 20 stars were obtained using the Gemini Multi Object spectrograph (GMOS).& These stars are suspected to be high mass X-ray binaries (HMXBs); each was selected based on images from the Chandra X-ray observatory. An HMXB is a massive star, perhaps 10X the mass of the Sun (or more) with a black hole or neutron star companion orbiting it.