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Mississippi State University Department ofPHYSICS AND ASTRONOMY

Astrophysics

Extrasolar Planets

With hundreds of exoplanets being discovered now every year, this field is expanding as fast as the catalog of nearby planets! Dr. Tanner’s research involves multiple exoplanet surveys utilizing infrared radial velocities, astrometry and direct imaging. She is also studying the properties of potential planetary host stars through ultra-precise photometry. Dr. Tanner is a member of the NASA Kepler Participating Scientists program, is a Kavli Fellow and is developing a database for direct imaging surveys. She has numerous PhD or Master’s thesis level programs and currently has two undergrads and one graduate student in her research group. Her research programs involve telescopes across the world, large data base programming and intense data modeling which can appeal to a large range of student interests. Finally, she is the Director of the MSU Howell Observatory.

Comet Science

Dr. Donna Pierce is interested in comet chemistry
and the interplay between physical and chemical phenomena in
comet atmospheres. She collaborates with researchers at the
University of Maryland and the University of Texas.