COSMOS Astronomy& Astrophysics Cluster

Information for the
A&A Cluster:
Student Roster
Project Groups
Project Descriptions
Observing Schedule
Lecture & Lab Schedule
Daily Schedule & Room Assignments
Observing Night Objects
                      - pic 1
COSMOS 2013 A&A Students
                      - pic 2
Teacher Fellow Mark Cygan exerting a little bit of "influence" on the COSMOS 2013 students.

California State Summer School for Math and Science (COSMOS) is a month-long residential program for high school students who have demonstrated exceptional talent in math and science. COSMOS programs are run each summer at four University of California campuses: Irvine, Santa Cruz, Davis and San Diego. We have taught the Astronomy & Astrophysics cluster of classes here at UC Irvine each summer since the program's inception in 2000. If you are an educator who is interested in learning about our program you can download a poster paper that we recently presented at the 215th meeting of the American Astronomical Society (January, 2010) or the article we presented at an Astronomical Society of the Pacific conference (July, 2012).

Pictured above are the twenty-three students in the A&A Cluster of Summer 2013. Our teaching staff included Professors Tammy Smecker-Hane, James Bullock, Aaron Barth and Michael Cooper. Our Teaching Assistants (pictured on the right, second from the top)  were graduate students Andrew Graus, John Phillips and Liuyi Pei. Our Teacher Fellow was Mark Cygan from Estancia High School in Costa Mesa.

In addition to attending lectures on Astronomy, Astrophysics and Scientific Communication and doing CLEA astronomy labs in the computer lab, students get to perform individual research projects with the UCI Observatory.  Some of the fruits of their many treks to the Observatory are shown below. In addition to planning and executing their observations, the students also learned how to operate the observatory, which included opening and closing the observatory, moving and tracking with the telescope, and controlling the CCD camera and spectrograph, and keeping records of all of their observations in the Observatory logbook.  The students also became familiar with data reduction and analysis software used by professional astronomers such as IRAF, DAOPHOT and IDL.  These analysis packages were used to reduce the CCD images, perform aperature and profile-fitting photometry of stars in clusters,  analyze spectra of the Ring Nebula, and classify spectra of different types of main sequence stars, identify asteroids, etc.

  • The Ring Nebula -  This is a true-color image of M57, commonly called the Ring Nebula, which is a planetary nebula created when a dying star (the blue-colored star seen at the center of the ring) ejects its outer layers, creating a shell of gas that grows larger with time, and leaves behind a white dwarf star. It is a combination of a few minutes exposures in B, V and R (blue, green and red) filters taken with the ST9 CCD by the Star Cluster M11 group in Summer 2006. 
  • Galaxy Group 2000 - This is a 180-second view of M51, the Whirlpool Galaxy, using the R-band filter.  In addition to the central bulge of the galaxy, the spiral arms are clearly visible along with several foreground stars.
  • Galaxy Group 2002 -  This is the average of three 5 min exposures of the spiral galaxy NGC 6946 using the V-band filter. Unfortunately, the contrast between the galaxy and sky is low because the Full Moon was shining brightly.
  • Star Cluster Group 2002 - performed photometry of the star clusters M11, an open cluster, and M13, a globular cluster, which they found had very different ages and distances.
Useful Links:
UCI Observatory
COSMOS - Statewide

Additional Pictures:
                      - pic 3
                      Students - Spiral Galaxy (2010)
COSMOS 2012 - Higgs Boson
                      Collision Pic
                      Staff: Rachel Kuzio de Naray (TA), Carol Thornton
                      (TA), Tammy Smecker-Hane (Professor), Erik
                      Tollerud (TA), Basilio Yniguez (TA)
Click here for project group photos. Wait patiently for your computer to connect to our server. Then right click on a specific photo or the gzipped tar file that contains all the photos and Save As to your local computer.)
Last updated Jul 18, 2013
Tammy Smecker-Hane