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Amanda Bosh promoted to senior lecturer

Astronomer and planetary scientist has been a steady source of inspiration for students and community members interested in observational astronomy.
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Senior lecturer Amanda Bosh teaches courses on observational astronomy.
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Senior lecturer Amanda Bosh teaches courses on observational astronomy.
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Photo: Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences

Amanda Bosh, an astronomer and planetary scientist in the MIT Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (EAPS), has been promoted to senior lecturer.

Bosh's research focus includes studies of the atmospheres of icy bodies in the outer solar system and the kinematics of planetary rings, both utilizing a technique known as stellar occultation. She also teaches three undergraduate courses in observational astronomy.

“Amanda brings knowledge, enthusiasm, commitment, and a long relationship with MIT and the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences to our students,” said Rob van der Hilst, head of EAPS and the Schlumberger Professor of Earth and Planetary Science. “We are delighted to see her promoted to senior lecturer.”

Bosh was recently involved with a June 29 Pluto occultation event, which occurred a few days prior to closest Pluto approach by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft. She was also a co-author on research published this spring, reporting the detection of a shell or ring of fine dust particles around Chiron, a minor planet also known as a centaur.

Bosh's fall course, 12.410 / 8.287J (Observational Techniques of Optical Astronomy), teaches students about the fundamental physical and optical principles used for astronomical measurements at visible wavelengths, as well as practical methods of astronomical observations and data analysis. The course includes observations made at Wallace Observatory in Westford, Massachusetts.

Over MIT's Independent Activities Period in January, Bosh leads 12.411 / 12.611 (Astronomy Field Camp), an opportunity for individual research projects in observational astronomy involving supervised work at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Her spring class, 12.409 (Hands-on Astronomy), centers around weekly outdoor observing, both on campus and at Wallace Observatory. Bosh teaches students the background for and techniques of visual observing, telescope use, and astrophotography of the moon, planets, satellites, stars, and brighter deep-space objects.

Outside the classroom, Bosh coordinates the popular observe@MIT program, an on-campus opportunity for the MIT community to stargaze and to see the sights of the night even within the light-polluted city. Members of the MIT community are encouraged to come and observe the sky above and learn about space and what there is to see on that particular day or night. Participants may look through telescopes and engage in conversation with peers and astronomy enthusiasts alike up on the roof of Building 37, on MIT's campus. (For alerts as to these observing sessions, join the observe@MIT mailing list.)

Astronomer and planetary science senior lecturer Amanda Bosh leads Observe@MIT, a series of astronomical observation sessions open to the MIT community.

Bosh also advises graduate and undergraduate students. This year her group includes master's student Molly Kosiarek XII ’15 and several undergraduate advisees, including seniors Megan Mansfield and Dan Doan, who are working with Bosh on their bachelor's theses.

As an MIT undergraduate, Bosh was a double major in EAPS and the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. She earned a PhD in 1994 under the guidance of EAPS professor Jim Elliot. Bosh has been a lecturer in EAPS since 2009.

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