Ashley Armstrong '13 presents at American Astronomical Society

By: Buff Lindau

ashley armstrong '13Atop a summer of funded research in astrophysics at Harvard, a study abroad semester in Ireland, induction into Phi Beta Kappa as a junior (usually only seniors are inducted), Ashley Armstrong '13, a physics and philosophy double major, added another accomplishment.

Ms. Armstrong presented her astronomy research at the American Astronomical Society meeting, held Jan. 6-10, 2013 in Long Beach, California.  Her research was based on data from the enormous Keck Observatory, and was part of a section titled "Intergalactic Medium, QSO Absorption Line Systems."

The lead author, Ms. Armstrong and her group presented their work at the conference on a poster titled "The Keck Observatory Database of Ionized Absorbers Toward QSOs (KODIAQ): II. A large Sample of CIV Selected Absorbers in the IGM and the ISM and CGM of Galaxies at z>1.6".

Ms. Armstrong's adviser, Physics professor John O'Meara, was one of the authors on the study, although she was the first author. Professor O'Meara is a widely published researcher in the field of astrophysics.

Ms. Armstrong was also a researcher on another project using Keck data, titled "The Keck Observatory Database of Ionized Absorbers Toward QSOs (KODIAQ): I. Hunting for OVI Absorbers in Strong HI Absorbers at z>2."


Ashley Armstrong was awarded a grant to participate in the summer 2012 Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics Solar REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) program.

"I'm looking forward to gaining a better perspective on the different kinds of research going on throughout the astronomical community, as well as seeing what graduate level research might be like," she said in June. "This experience is sure to shape my future plans in a very important way. I think that it's going to be a summer of adventure in Cambridge, as I explore our Sun through the project titled: Thermal Energy Content of Solar Flares."

Her participation in the national astronomy meeting this month confirms her view of the impact of her summer at the Center for Astrophysics at Harvard - all part of her ever-expanding science education.

Also attuned to the beauty of nature on earth, Ms. Armstrong said of a sight she saw on her study-abroad visit to Kylemore Abbey in Ireland:  "[This scene] shows no sign of the nearby castle nor of the tourists flowing in and out of that structure. Instead here [I see] the serenity and simplicity that is the lake, the hills, and the tangled tree. I wonder how many of the tourists ever see this tree. It's a pity that in one's effort to see the world and its wonders, the field of vision is often restricted by a call for efficiency."

The daughter of Mary Jo and Steven Armstrong of Rome, NY, Ms. Armstrong graduated from Rome Free Academy before coming to Saint Michael's.

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