FAST Team: New Mexico State University, APOGEE

Characterizing Kepler Eclipsing Binaries Observed with SDSS/APOGEE

SDSS-IV Project 0167
Category: Collaboration Research
Survey: APOGEE-2


By combining high resolution APOGEE spectra with the high-precision photometry taken by the Kepler Telescope, close binary stars may be well characterized. We will examine a subset of eclipsing binaries listed in the Villanova Kepler Eclipsing Binary Catalog by cross-correlating with the Apogee APOKASC catalog. We found that infrared color magnitude and color-color diagrams, especially the H-K vs J-K diagram, allowed for a relatively clean separation of giants and dwarf stars. Presumably, dominated by the primary star in these eclipsing binaries. We will identify interesting binaries and make progress towards their characterization and develop a catalog of eclipsing binaries.

Joshua Santana at his first AAS meeting in Florida.
Joshua Santana at his first AAS meeting in Florida.
James Vesper, Paul Mason, Christina Solis, Joshua Santana and Jonathan Delgado. Not in picture: Joni Clark Cunningham.
James Vesper, Paul Mason, Christina Solis, Joshua Santana and Jonathan Delgado. Not in picture: Joni Clark Cunningham.

Paul Mason's Bio:

Dr. Paul A. MasonI was born in Louisiana and grew up in Florida. I became fascinated with astronomy at a young age while watching the Apollo rocket launches. I went to high school in Northeast Texas, where I spent many nights out with my telescope. I was an undergraduate student at the University of Arizona and I obtained a Master’s degree in Physics from Louisiana State University. I obtained my PhD in Astronomy from Case Western Reserve University, in Cleveland, OH, in 1996. Since then I have been teaching and doing research at New Mexico State University. Most of my research is on observations of close binary stars. Including optical and radio observations of magnetic cataclysmic variables and X-ray binaries containing both neutron stars and black holes. I have also investigated the possibility of life on planets in binary star systems based on theoretical considerations. I am married with five children.

Joni Marie Clark Cunningham

Joni Clark CunninghamI am a graduating senior at New Mexico State University in Physics with a minor in astronomy. I grew up in El Paso Texas and found my love of astronomy and the stars camping with my family growing up. My main interest is astrobiology, as I love to ponder what sort of life we share the galaxy with. After I graduate I will continue my studies at New Mexico State University and hope to eventually earn my PhD in Astrophysics. I have spent my undergraduate career doing research with Dr. Paul Mason and have been doing SDSS research for just over two years. When I’m not studying or stargazing, I love to sew and craft. I have my own shop where I sell my art and creations, which usually have a Steampunk flair. I am co-author of the book Virtual Laboratory Exercises for Introductory Astronomy.

Jonathan Delgado

Jonathan DelgadoI was born in Puerto Rico in a town called San German. That was the beginning of a long string of places I would come to live which would eventually include Las Cruces, NM. It was at Arrowhead Park Early College High School that I got my associate degree in general science. That was before I had even graduated High School! I had been taking an intro to Astronomy course when I met Dr. Mason and he offered me the opportunity to work with the NMSU FAST team. I attended an SDSS collaboration meeting in Madrid, Spain, July 2015, and I presented a poster at the American Astronomical Society meeting in January 2016. My next step on the path to astronomy is a Bachelor’s Degree in Physics which I would receive at NMSU as well.

Joshua B. Santana

Joshua B. SantanaI was born in Santa Fe, NM but I grew up in the small town of Deming, NM where there stars are amazing! I am an undergraduate at Dona Ana Community College of New Mexico State University. I am currently pursuing my associate degree in general science but soon to be going after a degree in Aerospace engineering. I have been working with the SDSS FAST team, primarily researching the high and low optical states of Polar type magnetic cataclysmic variables. I presented a poster at the American Astronomical Society meeting in January 2016. I love to think about space and anything science. Hopefully one day I will be part of the space program because I believe we humans are capable of some amazing things.

Christina Solis

Christina SolisI was born and raised in Las Cruces, New Mexico off of Highway 70 where I had the most beautiful view of the stars and moon. I have been interesting in Astronomy ever since I was little girl. Throughout my schooling I was in SEMMA and AYS, Academy for Young Scientist. I am currently working on my Associates of Science at Dona Ana Community College. I hope to major in some field of Astronomy at New Mexico State University once I finish my Associates. I’ve been with the SDSS FAST team since December of 2015 working with the APOGEE Program looking at the spectra of binary stars observed in the Kepler Eclipsing Binary Catalog. I have always been mesmerized by the power and beauty found in space and I would love to have a career where I can always have my head in the stars.

James Lindsey Vesper

James Lindsey VesperI am sort of from everywhere, born and raised for my childhood in upstate New York, but migrated down to a little town called Lordsburg, NM when I was 10. Some of my earliest memories as a child were my parents getting me to view the stars, learn the constellations, and constantly looking through telescopes; I am so interested in astronomy, that certain social circles refer to me as Nightgazer, in jest. I originally transferred into NMSU on a physics program, but due to socio-economic issues, I fell out of the program, eventually getting my associates in accounting. Left unsatisfied with this, I returned to studying physics, now with a minor in astronomy. I have been with Dr. Mason and the NMSU SDSS/FAST team since the inception in May of 2015, and I travelled to Madrid, Spain, for an SDSS collaboration meeting. I have always been closely related to mathematics and science, having come from a very educated household and was encouraged to learn everything I can.