Our Research Team

What are we all about?

The Elon Astrophysics (ASYELN) team meets on a weekly basis to discuss the progress on our individual projects, receive feedback from others, and outline the next steps that need to be taken. All ASYLYN students are working on distinct projects in a broad category of astrophysics. This allows each student to have a unique project of their own, while still receiving constructive analysis from other students that are familiar with the topic. Elon students can start working on a project as early as their first year of classes. Our students are involved in the entire scientific process, which involves project development, data collection, data analysis, presenting results, and publishing in top-tier, peer reviewed journals.

Scientific research allows students to develop skills useful for advanced study or entering the job market. In team ASYLYN, these skills include python programming, command line navigation, high performance computing, SQL queries, image processing, and much more. Our network of collaborators enables students to interact with professional astronomers as peers. The Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) and our involvement with The RESOLVE Survey provides a wealth of data for students to dig into reducing, interpreting, and modeling. Many of our students supplement their research projects by pursuing an astronomy minor that gives them a solid foundation in the basics of the discipline.

Our researchers take advantage of the numerous opportunties that Elon University provides to conduct and present research. The Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) enables students undertake a detailed project for 8 weeks of paid work that culminates in a poster presentation. Every year, Elon also dedicates an entire on campus to the Summer Undergraduate Research Forum (SURF) and provides substantial support for students to attend the National Conference for Undergraduate Research (NCUR). Additionally, the Undergraduate Research Program supplies financial assistance for travel to larger disciplinary conferencers such as the annual American Astronomical Society Meeting.

Current Members

Past Members

  • Emily Need - Clemson University, Graduate student
  • Helen Meskhidze - Western Ontario University, Graduate student
  • Ben Kaiser - University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill), Graduate student
  • Maria Temming - Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Graduate student


  • Meskhidze, H., Richardson, C. T., "An Atlas of Star-Forming Galaxy Equivalent Widths", ApJS (submitted)
  • Richardson, C. T., Allen, J. T., Baldwin, J. A., Hewitt, P. C., Ferland, G. J., Crider, A.,Meskhidze, H., "Interpreting the Ionization Sequence in Star-Forming Galaxy Emission Line Spectra", 2016, MNRAS, 458, 988
  • Richardson, C. T., Allen, J. T., Baldwin, J. A., Hewitt, P. C., Ferland, G. J., "Interpreting the Ionization Sequence in AGN Emission-Line Spectra", 2014, MNRAS, 437, 2376
  • Xiang, W., Ferland, G. J., Baldwin, J. A., Loh, E. D., Richardson, C. T., "Detecting the Rapidly Expanding Outer Shell of the Crab Nebula: Where to Look", 2013, ApJ, 774, 112
  • Allen, J. T., Hewitt, P. C., Richardson, C.T., Ferland, G. J., Baldwin, J. A., "Classification and Analysis of Emission Line Galaxies Using Mean Field Independent Component Analysis", 2013, MNRAS, 430, 3510
  • Richardson, C. T., Baldwin, J. A., Ferland, G. J., Loh, E. D., Kuehn, C., Fabian, A. C., Salome, P., "The Nature of the H2 Emitting Gas in the Crab Nebula", MNRAS, 2013, 430, 1257
  • Richardson, C. T., O’Shea, B. W., "Assessing Gender Differences in Response System Questions for an Introductory Physics Course", 2012, AJP, 2013, 81, 231
  • Loh, E. D., Baldwin, J. A., Ferland, G. J., Curtis, Z. K., Richardson, C. T., Fabian, A. C., Salome, P., "H2 Temperatures in the Crab Nebula", 2012, MNRAS, 421, 789
  • Zou, J., Lange, X., Richardson, C., "Lattice thermal conductivity of nanoscale AlN/GaN/AlN heterostruc- tures: Effects of partial phonon spatial confinement", 2006, JAP, 100, 10, 104309-104309-8.