Joseph Adams (3rd Year)

My general research interest is in the field of near-infrared instrumentation and observations. For the past year or so I have been working on my second year research project with Prof. Mike Skrutskie. Our goal is to quantify the effects of temporal and spatial variations in the hydroxyl airglow emission (2MASS airglow page) in the J, H, and K bands (1.2, 1.6, and 2.2 microns respectively) on photometric noise power and source detection, particularly in the context of the Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS). The general strategy for achieving this goal includes:

Preliminary results show that the near-infrared OH airglow variations can contribute significantly to photometric noise on short time-scales (1 - 2 minutes) and are remarkably complex and dynamic in space and time. These early results closely correlate with the OH airglow structure observed in other wavelength regions.

Wide-field OH airglow images obtained with the 2MASS prototype camera: J-band (above) and H-band (below). Each field is about 10 x 10 degrees near zenith. Note the intricate wave-like structure. The intensity variations in each image are about 15% relative to the mean airglow intensity. Animations of the airglow show bulk motion of the airglow as well as internal evolution of the individual airglow structures. Important in defining the brightness limits of 2MASS source extractions is understanding how these temporal and spatial variations in the airglow affect backround photometric noise.

I also have an active interest in astronomy education. Led by Steve Strom, and along with several faculty members, postdocs, and graduate students, I have been involved in teaching the innovative Five College undergraduate course Astronomy 224. Astronomy 224 is an endeavor to teach students the discipline and art of science through basic concepts and techniques used in astronomical research such as instrumentation, image and data analysis, computer programming, and writing. Unlike students in a standard lecture course, Astronomy 224 students drive the classroom by actively and continually posing questions, solving problems, and articulating conclusions using these tools.

FCAD/UMASS Astronomy Home Page
2MASS Airglow Page: images and animations
Joe's Page

Created on 30 June 1996
Last modified on 3 July 1996