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stu
2004-Oct-12, 07:24 AM
I'm a senior this year (astronomy major, physics/geology minor) and so am applying to graduate schools for next year. My interests lie in planetary and/or solar astronomy.

I'm currently looking at:
- U of Colorado
- U of Montana - Billings
- Cornell
- U of Hawaii

What I'm really looking for now are backups, for I see Cornell and U of Hawaii being very "out there" in the probability of me being accepted, and Colorado's not that easy from what I hear, either. No one that I've talked to seems to know much about Montana, though.

I've looked at some other big-name places (UofA, NM, Berkeley, Stanford), but they don't really have what I'm interested in. Harvard would be good, but I'm not interested in going there.

Another possibility is the New Jersey Institute of Technology, but I'm not sure if I really want to live in Newark.

So, I suppose what I'm looking for from the BABB community is:
- suggestions for other schools to consider for solar and/or planetary
- any advice/comments on my current choices

Thanks in advance!

ToSeek
2004-Oct-12, 01:29 PM
Isn't Arizona or Arizona State a major spot for planetary astronomy?

stu
2004-Oct-12, 03:01 PM
Isn't Arizona or Arizona State a major spot for planetary astronomy?

U of Arizona is, but they have no solar. And, if I HAD to choose between the two at this moment, I would go for solar over planetary. I'll check out Arizona State, though.

ToSeek
2004-Oct-12, 06:15 PM
Planetary geology at Arizona State. (http://europa.la.asu.edu/)

Harvestar
2004-Oct-12, 09:51 PM
um, but we (Arizona) do have the National Solar Observatory (attached to NOAO) directly across the street. There's the solar telescope on Kitt Peak.

And is there a university with affiliation to the telescopes at Sunspot, NM? (not sure if that would be here or one of the New Mexico universities)

George
2004-Oct-12, 10:51 PM
Your thinking of Hawaii makes good sense to me but I am not qualified to give you good advice.

However, I may be able to help stir their consideration of your application. If they ask for your reasons for your pursuit of solar studies, just tell them you want to know what color it is. 8) Their reaction should be a good indication of the caliber of school you might be entering. Only the very wisest will recognize this as a truly contemporary and fundamental quest as it delves deeply into the heart of blackbody comprehension, visible light phenomena, human physiological response, navigation (e.g. color marker for visiting E.T.'s), irradiance curve elucidation, corrections to Hertzsprung-Russel plots and advancement in general public understanding of the most prominent object in the universe. Children would finally know what crayon they should use (dependent upon viewing position).


[If all reject you, please consider the later portion of my opening sentence as a disclaimer] :)

In other words, I would really like to know if it is as blue as the irradiance plots and lighting industry seem to indicate. However, I plan to maintain a comical decorum until this issue is resolved. [-(

jrkeller
2004-Oct-13, 03:38 AM
Why don't you PM the BA?

stu
2004-Oct-13, 07:42 PM
um, but we (Arizona) do have the National Solar Observatory (attached to NOAO) directly across the street. There's the solar telescope on Kitt Peak.

And is there a university with affiliation to the telescopes at Sunspot, NM? (not sure if that would be here or one of the New Mexico universities)

Yes, you have the NSO (I interned there this summer), but NSO does not grant degrees, and according to the UofA Astronomy Department page, no one affiliated with the department does solar work.

The NSO is an interesting organization because it is actually split between the Tuscon group and the Sunspot group. I looked at NM University in the state capital, but they didn't have what I was looking for; I'll try to look for one near/in Sunspot.

As for ToSeek's Arizona State stuff, yes, they do have lots of planetary, but they are also lacking in solar, unfortunately. And, if I absolutely HAD to choose between the two now, it would be solar, so I do not want to limit myself by applying to places that ONLY have planetary (having other astronomy is fine, but by "only" I mean no solar).

I like George's comment. I think I might actually use that in my "personal statement"/"application essay." :lol:

As for the BA, Sonoma State doesn't appear to offer a PhD program in astronomy, and I would think that there are people on this board as capable as he for offering advice, so I'd rather not bother him. But if he replies on this thread, I'll of course take any advice he has to offer.

Thanks so far for peoples' replies, and I'm still open to advice!!

Harvestar
2004-Oct-14, 04:53 AM
While there aren't any people specifically doing solar, it's not unheard of to work with someone outside the department. I know several people who have advisors or co-advisors outside the department (some with people at NOAO or LPL, some even having people from other departments). So it might be possible to have a co-advisor (you usually have to have an additonal person in the department as an advisor simply for ease of university rules) from NSO or something. :)

Just trying to think of creative options. :)

Also, I believe I had a friend who did undergrad at U of Montana - Bozeman doing solar work.

Oh, and I'd also recommend U. of Maryland - they have a program set up with Goddard (and I know there's some solar people there - at least there was in 1999 when I was there).

George
2004-Oct-15, 02:13 PM
Contacting as many people in this field should help as well. Getting emails for those at solar observatories, such as SORCE, is not too difficult and they would likely be glad to help you. Also, you may be working with them someday. :)



I like George's comment. I think I might actually use that in my "personal statement"/"application essay." :lol:


SORCE might find it the most interesting. They must be working very hard on this issue because I have not heard back from my contact there, since I raised the question. There could be another reason I have not be responded to, I suppose. #-o :)

keck314
2004-Oct-18, 02:54 AM
I was a Planetary Geology intern at U. of Hawaii this past summer, and had a blast - it's a great place, and if you get in you should seriously consider accepting.

Plus, maybe we would be there together; I'm applying there, too :wink:

Both my advisors at HIGP were ASU alumni, and highly reccomended that I apply there as well, so it's probably work checking out.

George
2004-Oct-18, 03:35 AM
Welcome aboard keck314! =D>

Good luck on getting back on the "rock". :)

VTBoy
2004-Oct-18, 04:40 AM
What about CalTech, they are supose to be one of the best for Astronomy. If you think you have a shot at the schools you listed then CalTech wouldnt be a big reach at all in my opinion. CalTech also has an excellent planetary science/astronomy program if thats what you are interested in.

stu
2004-Oct-30, 04:30 AM
Thanks for all the advice! I've decided to apply to University of (Colorado, Maryland, Arizona, Hawaii), Montana State University, and New Jersey Institute of Technology. I'm not going to say which are my reaches, back-ups, etc. because I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings or bias myself towards anyone who might be on this board that might be reading my application in 5 months.

Thanks again!

Harvestar
2004-Oct-31, 04:27 AM
All good schools! :)

Nah, not on the board - though my officemate is. And I do know someone around the area who knows you. ;) (a post-doc who just came to NOAO from Case)

stu
2004-Oct-31, 04:31 AM
Nah, not on the board - though my officemate is. And I do know someone around the area who knows you. ;) (a post-doc who just came to NOAO from Case)

Yes yes, I worked with John last school year, and we just missed each other in Tucson by about a week (me leaving and him coming in August). I wonder if I could talk to John and see if he could mention my name to people ...

Harvestar
2004-Nov-01, 01:36 AM
I'd also recommend (since I saw your thread on the AAS) talking to various faculty members (and grad students) at the meeting (This is my research, here's a problem I've been having, what's the dept. like?, etc.). That's what I did and it was very helpful! I basically cornered anyone from a particular school, especially people I knew ahead of time or recognized names.

stu
2004-Nov-01, 01:40 AM
I'd also recommend (since I saw your thread on the AAS) talking to various faculty members (and grad students) at the meeting (This is my research, here's a problem I've been having, what's the dept. like?, etc.). That's what I did and it was very helpful! I basically cornered anyone from a particular school, especially people I knew ahead of time or recognized names.

Yep, I plan on making my target list as soon as the abstract list is posted.

VTBoy
2004-Nov-01, 01:53 AM
California has a few good schools in Planetary Astronomy some are among the best in the nation, just wondering why didn't you apply to any in California.

stu
2004-Nov-01, 01:55 AM
California has a few good schools in Planetary Astronomy some are among the best in the nation, just wondering why didn't you apply to any in California.

Many California schools that do have some planetary are lacking in solar. Also, I only want to have two, possibly three "reach" schools and most in California are very difficult to get into.

George
2004-Nov-02, 09:54 PM
I stumbled into this and thought of you. It details about 60 solar observatories and locates them on a map. 8)

here (http://arthemis.na.astro.it/wsc/observatories.html)

waynek
2004-Nov-02, 11:19 PM
Have you looked at Rice University in Houston? They have a good astronomy program, with both solar and planetary faculty (at least they did when I was there). Also, they don't try to "wash out" a large fraction of their first-year grad students as some big schools do. On the down side, you'd have to live in Houston, but the campus itself is great.

Harvestar
2004-Nov-02, 11:59 PM
Oh, yes, waynek gave some good advice. Be very wary of those places that admit a whole lot of students (just to teach Physics 101) and then kick them out after they fail the prelim. :(