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Jillian Rastinejad selected for competitive Gemini Graduate Student Visitor Program

In early April 2024, 5 graduate students from across the International Gemini Observatory community were selected to visit the observatory and participate in a night of observing, including CIERA graduate student Jillian Rastinejad. The Gemini Observatory, operated by the National Science Foundation’s NOIRLab, consists of twin 8.1-meter optical/infrared telescopes – Gemini-North (Hawai’i) and Gemini-South (Chile). Rastinejad will be visiting Gemini North the week of May 13.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to visit Gemini-North and see the telescope that’s played a huge role in my graduate work in action,” shared Rastinejad. “I study rapidly-evolving explosions that often require a massive, complicated telescope to observe a new target with just a few hours notice, a feat that Gemini and its staff regularly accomplish for us. Since there’s no guarantees that an explosion will happen while we’re there, I’ll be learning about Gemini’s instruments in detail so that I can make better decisions faster when a future explosion happens – but fingers crossed the Universe will send us something good that week!”

Rastinejad is a member of CIERA Professor Wen-fai Fong‘s group, where she researches astronomical transients and kilonovae. The successful program that secured Rastinejad’s Gemini visit involved her and Professor Fong designing an experiment to uncover the astrophysical origins of the heavy, r-process elements by following a long gamma-ray burst (produced by the collapse of massive stars).

Congratulations, Jillian!


Image: International Gemini Observatory/NOIRLab/NSF