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College Observatory Status – Summer 2015

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

The Physics Department at Middlebury College is performing upgrades at the College Observatory and will not be having Open House nights this summer.

Over the years, Open House nights at the Observatory have been popular events on the Middlebury campus during the summers as the Observatory has opened its doors to the College community and the public to share the wonders of the night skies.

Thanks to generous support from the Michele and David Mittelman (’76) Family Foundation, the Observatory will be undergoing substantial renovations and modernizations that represent a fundamental commitment to the long-term future of the Observatory, both for curricular and research uses, as well as for outreach. These improvements to the Observatory will help ensure that Middlebury students, College community members, schoolchildren, and the public will continue to be able to explore the universe on the Middlebury campus under dark Vermont skies.

The current expectation is that the Observatory will again be operational in the fall after completion of the upgrades.

Amidon awarded grant from National Geographic Society

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Will Amidon (Geology) has received a grant from the National Geographic Society for a project titled Finding Early Martian Landscapes in Idaho. The goal of this research is to understand the role of glacial outburst floods in forming amphitheater-headed canyons on the Snake River Plain of Idaho. This work should provide useful clues to how similar canyons formed on the surface of Mars. Two Middlebury undergraduates will be working with Will on this project.

Matthew Kimble awarded grant from NIMH

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Matthew Kimble (Psychology) has been awarded a research grant from the National Institute of Mental Health through NIH’s R15 AREA program. The grant provides three years of funding to support a project titled Neurophysiological and Behavioral Studies of Expectancy Bias in Trauma Survivors, which will use electroencephalography and eye tracking technology to better understand how psychological trauma affects how individuals look at the world. The project will involve multiple students through the life of the grant as independent study students, thesis students, and summer and regular semester research assistants. This grant represents Matt Kimble’s third NIMH funded project in this research area.

Jeff Munroe awarded Franklin Grant from the American Philosophical Society

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Jeff Munroe (Geology) has been awarded a Franklin Grant from the American Philosophical Society for a project titled Developing a Record of Holocene Environmental Change from an Idaho Ice Cave. The grant will cover field research expenses for Jeff and a Middlebury undergraduate to collect samples from the ice cave as well as the expense of acquiring radiocarbon dates for organic matter within the ice deposit. The goal of the project is to develop a record of winter snowfall and atmospheric dust deposition spanning the past several centuries.

Tom and Pat Manley awarded grant from the Lintilhac Foundation

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Tom & Pat Manley (Geology) have received a grant from the Lintilhac Foundation for a project titled High-Resolution Bottom Mapping of Lake Champlain. This grant provides funding to begin a long term effort to update the 2005 bottom bathymetric map of Lake Champlain using multibeam technology which Middlebury acquired with a 2011 grant from the National Science Foundation. When completed, this new bottom map will provide a significant increase in the resolution of the lake bottom that is important to the recreation, research and management communities.

David West awarded Whiting Foundation fellowship

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

David West (Geology) has been awarded a fellowship from the Marion and Jasper Whiting Foundation for a project titled Exploring Iceland’s Active Geology. The grant will support ten days of field investigation in Iceland that will enrich his teaching of structural geology, tectonics, and volcanic hazards in both introductory and upper-level geology courses. The experience will also provide a springboard for organizing an Iceland field course for students during Middlebury College’s recently established Summer Term.

Open House Nights at the College Observatory – Spring 2015

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

The Physics Department at Middlebury College will again host Open House nights at the College Observatory this spring. The observatory, located atop McCardell Bicentennial Hall, will be open to the public for viewing the heavens on Friday evenings, May 1 and May 8, from 9:00 PM until 10:30 PM, provided the skies are mostly clear.

Jupiter and Venus will be in the evening sky on both of these dates, while the moon will be visible only on the first of these two evenings. Also visible through our telescopes will be a number of interesting stars, star clusters, and nebulae. There is no set program for the Open House nights; the public is invited at any time between 9:00 PM and 10:30 PM.

All observatory public nights are free and open to the public, but will take place only if the sky is at least mostly clear. If the weather appears uncertain, visitors may call the observatory at 443-2266 or visit the observatory web site after 7:00 PM on the evening of the Open House for a status report. More information can also be found at go/observatory .