College of Science

Remington Sexton

Remington standing in front of the primary 6.5-m LSST

Remington is a physics major whose curiosity for the physical world began before he could read, when the pictures of various astronomical objects in a popular text on astronomy fascinated him. That initial curiosity became a quest for an understanding of the universe and the ultimate driving force for his pursuance of a career in astronomy. He spent the summer of 2012 in the CAMPARE program working at the University of Arizona Steward Observatory studying star formation and feedback in the Carina Nebula with Dr. Nathan Smith. This is his story.

As a physics major interested in stellar astrophysics, I find it very appropriate that I spent my summer in Tucson, a city whose temperature rivals that of the Sun's. When I wasn't analyzing Spitzer data at the University of Arizona, I was enjoying the crisp and clear summer nights atop tall mountain peaks far from the city.

Remington dwarfed by the LBTDuring my internship in Arizona, I was privileged enough to accompany my mentor, Dr. Nathan Smith, on three different observing runs using the 90-in Bok Telescope at Kitt Peak, the 6.5-m MMT atop Mt. Hopkins, and the 61-in Kuiper Telescope on Mt. Lemmon. We caravanned up to Mt. Graham to see the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) up close, and toured the Steward Observatory Mirror Lab, where the two 8.4-m mirrors of the LBT were originally cast. When we weren't working at Steward Observatory, Austin, Lindsey, Nicole, and I explored the city of Tucson, enjoying many of its few attractions, such as the Hotel Congress, the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, and the Pima Air & Space Museum.

The foundation of my research was based on Dr. Smith's work regarding star formation and feedback in the Carina Nebula. In the eight weeks spent at Steward Observatory, I learned how to analyze, manipulate and extrapolate photometric data from astronomical images using IRAF (Image Reduction and Analysis Facility) and DS9.

In the process of learning how stellar winds form bow shocks in the interstellar medium, I was exposed to a multitude of problems ranging from quantum physics to fluid mechanics. 

While my research experience has drawn upon many aspects of physics I've learned throughout my undergraduate career, CAMPARE has solidified my interests in pursuing a career in astronomy. Aside from my research, the observing runs I participated in gave me important insight into how professional astronomers work. Although I have achieved my summer research goals, I plan on continuing my research with Dr. Smith while at Cal Poly Pomona.

Remington went on numerous observation runs with Dr. Nathan Smith, one of which was at the 90-in Bok Telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory.