Luca Beale
 

Luca Beale


Hi there! I am an observational astrophysicist (and graduate student at the University of Virginia) with a passion for dwarf galaxies and what they can tell us about the cosmological history of our universe.

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Research Interests

I primarily use radio telescopes to understand the interplay between cosmic environment and galaxy evolution, as well as the dark matter content of dwarf galaxies. I am also interested in infrared spectroscopy of globular clusters, using molecular gas to trace star formation in galaxies, and large-scale structure in the universe.


Below are summaries of my general research interests.
Click here to read further about my current projects.

Credit: EngineerGirl

Dwarf galaxy evolution is influenced by both external and internal processes. The exact relationships are not always clear, however. Does the environment of a dwarf galaxy play a dominant role in its formation and evolution? Or do internal processes dominate? Interferometers like the Very Large Array (pictured above) can help us answer these questions by giving us detailed information about the gas in these dwarfs. We can compare this to the cosmic environment and tease out the complex relationships.

Credit: Astrobites

The most widely accepted model of our universe (ΛCDM) predicts that we should observe many small dwarf galaxies surrounding larger host galaxies. The fact that we don't actually see these galaxies is known as the "missing satellites" problem. With current telescopes, a statistical approach to searching for dwarf galaxies can tell us how close we can get to filling in the gap between theory and observation. This also requires that we understand dwarf galaxy physics at the lowest masses.

Credit: APOD/NASA/G. Benintende

The Triangulum galaxy (also known as M33, pictured above) is a small spiral galaxy in our cosmic neighborhood. In fact, it is so close to our nearest neighbor Andromeda that we see evidence (using radio light) of material streaming between the two! This should affect the "halo" of the galaxy — the stars, clusters, and gas that are very far away but still bound to the galaxy. By studying the motions of globular clusters in M33's halo, we can get a better understanding of how such gravitational interactions affect the stars and gas.

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Outreach & Education

Outreach and education are important components in any scientist's career. Here are few of the opportunities I'm currently involved in:

  • Dark Skies, Bright Kids — I am a volunteer with Dark Skies, Bright Kids, a non-profit, volunteer-run outreach program dedicated to enhancing science literacy for elementary school students in Virginia.

  • Astronomy on Tap — I am helping to organize Astronomy on Tap in Charlottesville, an informal program dedicated to bringing astronomy to the community in a relaxed setting.

  • LatinX Graduate Student Association — I am currently the outreach chair for LGSA, a newly-formed organization offering resources, opportunities, and friendships to the LatinX community at UVa.

  • Charlottesville-area Public Nights — I am frequently involved in public nights at the two observatories run by the University of Virginia, assisting with running telescopes, demonstrations, and answering questions.

  • Central Virginia Governor's School — For the 2017-2018 academic year, I mentored two high school students at CVGS, introducing them to science research and data analysis.

Click  here  to learn about citizen science with the Galaxy Zoo! Credit:  Zooniverse

Click here to learn about citizen science with the Galaxy Zoo! Credit: Zooniverse

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Teaching

Training the next generation of scientists is a pretty cool part of my job. Here is a list of my teaching experiences:

Current Courses:

Teaching Assistant — Stars, Galaxies, & the Universe Beyond (UVa undergraduate)

Recent Courses:

Instructor — Introduction to the Sky & Solar System (UVa undergraduate)
Teaching Assistant — Observational Astronomy (UVa undergraduate)
Teaching Assistant
— Science & Controversy in Astronomy (UVa undergraduate)
Teaching Assistant
— Introduction to Cosmology (UVa undergraduate)
Teaching Assistant
— Stars, Galaxies, & the Universe Beyond (UVa undergraduate)

Past Courses:

Lab Instructor — Introduction to Astronomy (SUNY Geneseo undergraduate)
Lab Instructor — Stars & Galaxies (SUNY Geneseo undergraduate)
Lab Instructor — Introduction to the Solar System (SUNY Geneseo undergraduate)

Click  here  to see the current list of course offerings in astronomy at the University of Virginia. Credit:

Click here to see the current list of course offerings in astronomy at the University of Virginia. Credit:


Click  here  to see the current list of course offerings in physics & astronomy at SUNY Geneseo.

Click here to see the current list of course offerings in physics & astronomy at SUNY Geneseo.

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Contact Info

Department of Astronomy
University of Virginia
530 McCormick Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903, USA

(434) 924-7933
lucabeale@gmail.com
lb5eu@virginia.edu

Say hi to me!

From top to bottom, the banner images are:

 
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