MS Northern Arizona University, 2004
Allison Bair assists astronomer Dr. David Schleicher with his research on the origins and evolution of comets, with a primary focus on analyzing the chemical composition of comets from Lowell’s narrowband photometry database.
Utilizing more than 40 years of observations of over 200 comets, Allison assists in seeking to learn more about the characteristics of the comets themselves, about their chemical and dynamical classes, and to gain insights into the conditions of the early solar nebula when the comets were formed. She also works on projects involving the physical properties of comets, such as determining rotation periods and using narrowband imaging in conjunction with 3-D modeling to resolve the locations of gas and dust jets on a comet’s nucleus. In addition to her work with Dr. Schleicher, she has assisted Dr. Matthew Knight (formerly at Lowell, now at the U.S. Naval Academy) with his research on sungrazing comets.
Allison joined the Lowell Observatory staff in 2005. Prior to working with Dr. Schleicher on comet research, she served as an educator and a supervisor in the Public Programs department. Allison earned her Master’s Degree at Northern Arizona University. While living in Flagstaff, conducting geology and botany field work under the dark skies of the Colorado Plateau and Southern Rocky Mountains, she developed a strong desire to learn more about astronomy and her place in the universe.