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PANELIST

Dr. Daniel Reichart
Assistant Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Photo of Daniel Reichart

Dr. Daniel Reichart has worked in the gamma-ray burst field for nearly 14 years: first as an undergraduate student under Peter Meszaros at Penn State; then as a graduate student under Donald Lamb at the University of Chicago; and then as a Hubble Postdoctoral Fellow with Shrinivas R. Kulkarni at the California Institute of Technology before accepting an Assistant Professorship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2002.

  Dr. Reichart best known for his discovery of a supernova-like signature in the late-time afterglow of GRB 970228, the first gamma-ray burst for which an optical afterglow was discovered, using archival Hubble Space Telescope data in 1999. Science Magazine ranked this and the work of two others as one of the top ten breakthroughs in science in 1999. Dr. Reichart's work helped bring the Swift mission to fruition. He was instrumental in the development of the SOAR (Southern Observatory for Astrophysical Research) telescope atop Cerro Pachon, Chile; and he is the director of a new array of six small telescopes at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile, called PROMPT.










Presentation Visuals



Discovery image of the afterglow of GRB 050904
Click on image to view full resolution


Image above: Discovery image (left panel) of the afterglow of GRB 050904 taken with the 4.1m Southern Observatory for Astrophysical Research (SOAR) telescope at infrared wavelengths. The afterglow can be seen fading away on subsequent nights (right panels, also from SOAR).

Image credit: Dr. Daniel Reichart




Prompt Image


Image above: Non-detection of the afterglow by one of the six 0.41m Panchromatic Robotic Optical Monitoring and Polarimetry Telescopes (PROMPT) at visible wavelengths helped the University of North Carolina team determine the extreme distance of this event.




List of telescopes that will be in our paper:

8.1m Gemini South, 4.1m SOAR, 3.8m UKIRT, 3.5m CAHA, 3.0m IRTF, 1.3m Palomar, 6x0.41m PROMPT

A (possibly incomplete) list of other telescopes that observed the GRB:

10m Keck, 8.2m Subaru, 8.2m VLT, 3.6m TNG, 2.6m Shain, 2.2m MAGNUM, 0.30m BOOTES, 0.25m TAROT

The primary students involved in our effort:

Josh Hailsip (undergrad)
Melissa Nysewander (grad)

also:

Chelsea MacLeod (undergrad)
Justin Kirschbrown (undergrad)

Josh did SOAR/PROMPT observations, SOAR data reductions, and participated in the discovery. Melissa is leading the modeling and interpretation effort.

Chelsea and Justin assisted with SOAR observations and did the PROMPT data reductions.




SOAR2 Image by Dr. Daniel Reichart
Click on image to view high resolution.


Image above: The 4.1-meter diameter SOAR (Southern Observatory for Astrophysical Research) telescope on Cerro Pachon in Chile discovered the infrared afterglow of GRB 050904, now known as the most distant explosion in the universe yet identified.

Credit: Dr. Daniel Reichart




PROMPT Image by Dr. Daniel Reichart
Click on image to view high resolution.


Image above: The six 0.41-meter diameter PROMPT (Panchromatic Robotic Optical Monitoring and Polarimetry Telescopes) on Cerro Tololo in Chile helped the University of North Carolina team determine the extreme distance of this event.

Credit: Dr. Daniel Reichart




Gemini South Image by Dr. Daniel Reichart
Click on image to view high resolution.


The 8.1-meter diameter Gemini South telescope on Cerro Pachon later helped to confirm this distance measurement.

Credit: Dr. Daniel Reichart