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Project Information

Project Information

Astro2020: Panel on Stars, the Sun, and Stellar Populations

Project Scope:

Panel Description:
The Panel on Stars, the Sun, and Stellar Populations will identify and articulate the scientific themes that will define the frontier in research of stars, stellar populations, and the Sun in the 2022-2032 decade. Its scope will include stellar structure and evolution, stellar activity and variability, brown dwarfs, solar astronomy, resolved stellar populations and star clusters in the Milky Way, and stellar nucleosynthesis and chemical evolution, as well as stellar activity and properties as revealed by exoplanet observations.

Overall Project Statement of Task:
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine shall convene an ad hoc survey committee and supporting study panels to carry out a decadal survey in astronomy and astrophysics. The study will generate consensus recommendations to implement a comprehensive strategy and vision for a decade of transformative science at the frontiers of astronomy and astrophysics. The committee, with inputs from study panels covering the breadth of astronomy and astrophysics, will carry out the following tasks:

  1. Provide an overview of the current state of astronomy and astrophysics science, and technology research in support of that science, with connections to other scientific areas where appropriate;
  2. Identify the most compelling science challenges and frontiers in astronomy and astrophysics, which shall motivate the committee’s strategy for the future;
  3. Develop a comprehensive research strategy to advance the frontiers of astronomy and astrophysics for the period 2022-2032 that will include identifying, recommending, and ranking the highest priority research activities — taking into account for each activity the scientific case, international and private landscape, timing, cost category and cost risk, as well as technical readiness, technical risk, and opportunities for partnerships.  The strategy should be balanced, by considering large, medium, and small activities for both ground and space. (Activities include any project, telescope, facility, experiment, mission, or research program of sufficient scope to be identified separately in the final report.) For each recommended activity the committee will lay out the principal science objectives and activity capabilities, including assumed or recommended activity lifetime, where possible;
  4. Utilize and recommend decision rules, where appropriate, for the comprehensive research strategy that can accommodate significant but reasonable deviations in the projected budget or changes in urgency precipitated by new discoveries or unanticipated competitive activities;
  5.  Assess the state of the profession, using information available externally and, if necessary, data gathered by the study itself, including workforce and demographic issues in the field. Identify areas of concern and importance to the community raised by this assessment in service of the future vitality and capability of the astronomy and astrophysics work force. Where possible, provide specific, actionable and practical recommendations to the agencies and community to address these areas. This report shall be made available following the completion of the study.


Status: Current


Project Duration (months): 24 month(s)

RSO: Sheffer, Abigail


Engineering and Technology
Math, Chemistry, and Physics
Space and Aeronautics
Policy for Science and Technology

Geographic Focus:

Committee Membership

Committee Post Date: 08/13/2019

Sarbani Basu - (Chair)
SARBANI BASU is a professor and chair of the Department of Astronomy at Yale University. In addition, she is the co-investigator on the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager of NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory. Her research interests include the study of the Sun and other stars using data on stellar oscillations (star quakes), and in studying the variations in the Sun over time-scales that are of societal relevance. To this end, she uses solar oscillation data to examine changes that take place deep inside the Sun over periods of years and decades. Prior to joining Yale University, she was a post-doctoral researcher at the Queen Mary & Westfield College in London and at the Theoretical Astrophysics Center at the University of Aarhus in Denmark. She is the deputy chair of the board of directors and member representative for Yale at the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, a member of the editorial board for Solar Physics, and member of the board of the TESS Asteroseismic Science Consortium. Basu is the recipient of numerous awards including the 2018 George Ellery Hale Prize of the Solar Physics Division of the American Astronomical Society, a 2015 fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the M.K. Vainu Bappu Gold Medal of the Astronomical Society of India. She is a member of the International Astronomical Union, the American Astronomical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Geophysical Union, and the Astronomical Society of India. Basu received her Ph.D. in physics from Tata Institute of Fundamental Research. She has not previously served on an Academies’ committee.
Nancy S. Brickhouse
NANCY S. BRICKHOUSE is the senior science advisor at the Center for Astrophysics, Harvard & Smithsonian. She has served as the associate director for the Solar, Stellar, and Planetary Sciences Division at the Center for Astrophysics. Her research interests include solar and stellar coronal physics, plasma spectral modeling, atomic data for astrophysics, ultra violet to X-ray spectroscopy of diverse objects, and physical processes in astrophysical plasmas. She is a leader of the Atomic Data for Astrophysicists (ATOMDB) Project, which uses collisional and radiative atomic data to generate spectral models needed for high-energy astrophysics. Dr. Brickhouse received her Ph.D. in physics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has not previously served on an Academies’ committee.
Adam Burgasser
ADAM BURGASSER is a professor at the University of California, San Diego in the department of physics and an observational astrophysicist whose research interests include the lowest mass stars, brown dwarfs, and extrasolar planets. He has a particular interest in substellar atmospheres, multiple systems, activity, and populations. He specializes in optical/infrared spectroscopy, high resolution imaging, radio interferometry, and large data science. He also conducts research in physics education and art-science collaboratories. He has previously held a Hubble Postdoctoral Fellowship at University of California, Los Angeles, a Spitzer Postdoctoral Fellowship at the American Museum of Natural History, and a faculty position in physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has been awarded University of California,San Diego’s Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action and Diversity Award, Outstanding Mentor Award, and Distinguished Teaching Award, and was a faculty Fulbright Scholar at the University of Exeter. Burgasser is a member of the International Astronomical Union, American Astronomical Society, National Society of Black Physicists, and SACNAS. Burgasser received his Ph.D. in physics from the California Institute of Technology. He has not previously served on an Academies’ committee.
Julianne Dalcanton
JULIANNE DALCANTON is professor and chair of astronomy at the University of Washington. Her research interests include the origin and evolution of galaxies and their use as probes of fundamental physics. Dalcanton is also the principal investigator of a large Hubble Space Telescope Multi-Cycle Treasury, has served as the vice chair of the Space Telescope Science Institute Council, a member of the Collaboration Council of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), the chair of the SDSS Galaxy Working Group, and as a member of the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) nominating committee. Prior to joining her current institution, she was a postdoctoral fellow at the Observatories of the Carnegie Institution of Washington. Dalcanton is the recipient of numerous awards, including - the Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, a National Science Foundation CAREER Award for beginning faculty, a NASA Hubble Postdoctoral Fellowship, a Wyckoff Faculty Fellowship through the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Washington, the Mohler Prize from University of Michigan, and the Beatrice Tinsley Prize from the American Astronomical Society. She received her Ph.D. in astrophysical sciences from Princeton University. Dalcanton served on the Academies’ Astro2010 Decadal Survey Panel on the Galactic Neighborhood. She is currently serving on the Astro2020 Decadal Steering Committee, and would serve as the steering committee’s liaison to this panel.
Jennifer A. Johnson
JENNIFER A. JOHNSON is a professor of astronomy at the Ohio State University (OSU). Her research interests include stellar abundances, origin of the elements, nucleocosmochronology, and the formation of the Galaxy and the local group. Johnson is the program head of the Milky Way Mapper of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. Previously, she was a postdoctoral fellow at the Carnegie Institution for Science and at the Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics. Johnson received her Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She has not previously served on an Academies’ committee.

R. T. J. McAteer
R. T. JAMES MCATEER is an associate professor at New Mexico State University (NMSU). He also serves as director of the Sunspot Solar Observatory. His research interests are in space weather monitoring and solar cycle studies, understanding the physics of solar flares and coronal mass ejections, and the heating of the solar atmosphere. He is the principal investigator of the Solar Physics and Space Weather research group at NMSU, where he leads a convergence program of computer science, electrical engineering, and astrophysics to facilitate interdisciplinary research and space weather predictions. He chairs the National Solar Observatory Users Committee and is a current member of the Daniel K. Inouye Data Policy Advisory Committee. Prior to joining NMSU, he was a EU Marie Curie Research Fellow at Trinity College Dublin, a STEREO senior scientist and research associate at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, and a Leverhulme Trust Research Fellow at Queen’s University Belfast. McAteer is a recipient of the NSF Faculty CAREER Award and a participant in the joint National Academies of Science - Chinese Academy of Sciences Forum for New Leaders in Space Science. McAteer received his Ph.D. in physics from the Queen’s University Belfast. He has not previously served on an Academies’ committee.
Elisa V. Quintana
ELISA V. QUINTANA is an astrophysicist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. She serves as the TESS deputy project scientist and the WFIRST deputy project scientist for communications. She is also a member of the TESS Guest Investigator Office and a member of the Goddard Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee. Her research is focused on the detection, characterization, and formation of exoplanets using ground and space based observations, data analysis techniques, and modeling. Quintana leads the Goddard Exoplanet Group, which works on research related to exoplanets, low mass star activity, and developing small space-based mission concepts. Previously, Quintana worked at NASA Ames Research Center and the SETI Institute for 10 years on the Kepler and K2 space missions. She led a team of astronomers to confirm Kepler-186f, the first Earth-sized planet found to orbit within the habitable zone of another star. Quintana is the recipient of the Great Minds in STEM 2015 Scientist of the Year, the Lupe Ontiveros Dream Award, and the NASA Software of the Year Award. Quintana received her Ph.D. in physics from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She is a member of the American Astronomical Society. She has not previously served on an Academies' committee.
Louis-Gregory Strolger
LOUIS-GREGORY STROLGER is the AURA observatory scientist at the Space Telescope Science Institute. He is also an associate research scientist in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Johns Hopkins University. His interests include supernovae, supernova cosmology, and dark energy. He is primarily interested in the nature of supernovae progenitors through bulk analyses of rates and environmental effects (e.g., star-formation, metallicity) and the evolution of these properties over cosmic history. Prior to this, he was an associate professor of physics and astronomy at Western Kentucky University. Strolger received his Ph.D. in astronomy and astrophysics from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He was a consultant to the Astro2010 Decadal Survey, where he participated as a member of an Infrastructure Study Group. He has not previously served on an Academies committee.

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Please note that the appointments made to this committee are provisional, and changes may be made. No appointment shall be considered final until we have evaluated relevant information bearing on the committee's composition and balance. This information will include the confidential written disclosures to The National Academies by each member-designate concerning potential sources of bias and conflict of interest pertaining to his or her service on the committee; information from discussion of the committee's composition and balance that is conducted in closed session at its first event and again whenever its membership changes; and any public comments that we have received on the membership during the 20-calendar day formal public comment period. If additional members are appointed to this committee, an additional 20-calendar day formal public comment period will be allowed. It is through this process that we determine whether the committee contains the requisite expertise to address its task and whether the points of views of individual members are adequately balanced such that the committee as a whole can address its charge objectively.

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Keck Center
500 5th St NW, Washington, DC 20001
Event Type :  

Description :   

Astro2020: Panel on Stars, the Sun, and Stellar Populations Meeting One

Decadal Survey on Astronomy and Astrophysics 2020 (ASTRO2020)

This meeting will be closed in its entirety.

The panel will review Astro2020 Science white paper submissions.

Registration for Online Attendance :   

Registration for in Person Attendance :   

If you would like to attend the sessions of this event that are open to the public or need more information please contact

Contact Name:  Gaybrielle Holbert
Contact Email:
Contact Phone:  (202) 334-3477

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