NSF and NASA grants awarded to Professors Annika Peter, John Beacom and collaborators

August 18, 2020

NSF and NASA grants awarded to Professors Annika Peter, John Beacom and collaborators


Professors Annika Peter, John Beacom and their collaborators have recently been awarded grants:

Collaborative research: Tests of dark matter physics with isolated dwarf galaxies in the Dark Energy Survey

This is a 3-year, $375k, NSF-funded study to find and characterize small galaxies within ~30 million light years.  We will combine optical data from the Dark Energy Survey, for which OSU is an institutional member, with radio data to link the stellar part of the galaxies to the gas reservoirs.  We can use the number and internal properties of these galaxies to learn how the galaxies are connected to dark-matter halos.  Because the number and properties of dark-matter halos depend on the nature of dark matter, we can test models of dark matter with our galaxy sample.  The grant also funds a partial TA position for the URSA summer early arrival program, and the creation of a dark matter planetarium show for the OSU Planetarium.  The OSU team consists of PI Annika Peter, NSF Astronomy & Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellows Dr. Johnny Greco and Dr. Amy Sardone, physics grad students Kirsten Casey and Daniella Roberts, and astronomy grad student Chris Garling.  The project will be done in collaboration with Prof. Alex Drlica-Wagner and astronomy graduate student Dimitrios Tanoglidis at the University of Chicago.

New Probe of Galactic Cosmic-Ray Transport in the Solar Corona Using GeV–TeV Gamma Rays

This is a 3-year, $641k NASA-funded study will enable us illuminate cosmic-ray transport and the magnetic field structure of the inner solar system using a combination of theoretical modeling and gamma-ray observations.  The Sun likely glows in gamma rays because of cosmic-ray interactions with the Sun.  Our group at OSU discovered a series of ever-more astonishing features of gamma-ray emission that challenge simple models of cosmic-ray transport from the Earth’s orbit to the surface of the Sun.  Our group at OSU – Profs. Annika Peter and John Beacom, and graduate student Guanying Zhu – will work with OSU alumni Prof. Tim Linden, Prof. Kenny Ng, and Dr. Bei Zhou; gamma-ray experimentalists Dr. Mehr Un Nisa (Michigan State) and Prof. Justin Vandenbroucke (Wisconsin) and solar physicists Profs. Ofer Cohen (UMass-Lowell) and Igor Sokolov (Michigan) to get to the bottom of the Sun’s extremely bright and variable emission at high energy.