Eye on UMSL: The Comet

by | Jul 20, 2015

Erika Gibb and her students were given the opportunity to control a telescope in order to find comet C/2014 Q1.


Erika Gibb (seated, right), professor and chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at UMSL, navigates the controls of an infrared telescope from a computer screen in her lab at the Research Building. Gibb and her students were given the opportunity to control the telescope in order to find comet C/2014 Q1. The group, which included (clockwise from seated left) Nathan Rote, Aaron Butler, Brigid Costello, Nicholas Moore and Joe Oberender, successfully pinpointed the comet as seen in the lower right-hand corner. The three-meter telescope is located at the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility at the Mauna Kea Observatory in Hawaii. While attempting to locate the comet, Gibb and her students communicated via Skype with officials at the telescope and also at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

Both photographs were taken and the composite was made by UMSL photographer August Jennewein. They are the latest to be featured in Eye on UMSL.

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Jen Hatton

Jen Hatton