Assistant Professor of Physics
Physics / Academic
- IDEA Center 166
B.A. Ithaca College
M.S. University of Virginia
Ph.D. University of Virginia
I became a physics major in college because I had a passion for astronomy. During my undergraduate years, that passion deepened so that I began to enjoy astronomical research for the sake of learning. Today, more than a decade after leaving college, that passion remains. My goal is to share physics and astronomy with my students both in and out of the classroom, and my favorite tool for doing so is the Adams Observatory.
- Phy 105 & 106: Physics for the Health Sciences I & II (algebra-based)
- Phy 131: Discovering the Cosmos (Introduction to Astronomy)
- Phy 212: Modern Physics
- Phy 361: Advanced Research Experiences
- Phy 451: Observational Astronomy
I study stars. Mostly I study stars that are much more massive than the Sun, but also stars that are uncommon for some other reason: stars that are dying, stars that are being born, stars that have peculiar, inexplicable traits.
I use the Adams Observatory, as well as other facilities both nation- and worldwide, to study these stars. Since coming to Austin College, my students and I have worked towards a better understanding of what are known as emission-line B-type (Be) stars. Recent student-led research projects have been about characterizing the physical properties of Be stars, and the circumstellar kinematics of the gaseous disks that surround them.
To learn more about student projects, check out the Adams Observatory’s Website.
Here are some highlights of recent research publications:
On the subject of emission-line B-type (Be) stars:
Chojnowski, S. D., Whelan, D. G., Wisniewski, J. P. et al. “High-Resolution H-Band Spectroscopy of Be Stars with SDSS-III/Apogee: I. New Be Stars, Line Identifications, and Line Profiles.” 2015, The Astronomical Journal, 149, 7.
On the subject of dust and gas near stars:
Zasowski, G., Chojnowski, S. D., Whelan, D. G., Miroshnichenko, A. S.,, Garcia-Hernandez, D. A., & Majewski, S. R.. “An Infrared Diffuse Circumstellar Band? The Unusual 1.572 Micron DIB in the Red Square Nebula.” 2015, The Astrophysical Journal, 811, 119.
Whelan, D. G., Lebouteiller, V., Galliano, F., Peeters, E., Bernard-Salas, J., Johnson, K.E., Indebetouw, R., & Brandl, B. “An In-depth View of the Mid-Infrared Properties of Point Sources and the Diffuse ISM in the SMC Giant HII Region, N66.” 2013, The Astrophysical Journal, 771, 16.
On the subject of Rigidly-Rotating Magnetosphere Stars
Wisniewski, J. P., Chojnowski, S. D.,, Davenport, J. R. A.,, Bartz, J., Pepper, J., Whelan, D. G., Eikenberry, S. S., Lomax, J. R., Majewski, S. R., Richardson, N. D., & Skrutskie, M. “Characterizing the Rigidly Rotating Magnetosphere Stars HD 345439 and HD 23478.” 2015, The Astrophysical Journal, 811, 26.
Eikenberry, S. S., Chojnowski, S. D., Wisniewski, J. P., Majewski, S. R., Shetrone, M., Whelan, D. G., et al. “Discovery of Two Rare Rigidly Rotating Magnetosphere Stars in the APOGEE Survey.” 2014, The Astrophysical Journal, 784, 30.
Interested in visiting the Adams Observatory? Check out our list of public events under “Upcoming Events” on the Adams Observatory Webpage.