Daniel Peluso, a double major in Media and Professional Communications and Geology, recently presented his research at the Science 2014 - Sustain It! conference at the University of Pittsburgh. CGS awarded Daniel the Academic Achievement Scholarship to support his efforts.
Daniel's research focuses on exoplanets, planets orbiting stars outside of our solar system. The culmination of his research is a 3D animation: The short film, entitled The Quest for Another Earth, spotlights the observations of exoplanets by the research team at the Allegheny Observatory, and explores a recently discovered exoplanet, Kepler-186f, which is 500 light years from Earth and has been called an "Earth-cousin" by astronomers because of its similarity to Earth.
Daniel completed this work as part of a fellowship awarded by ACCIAC and the University of Pittsburgh. As part of his research, Daniel also attended the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), which is operated by AURA and NASA, at Johns Hopkins in Boston, MA to meet with their team of 3D animators and astronomers. Daniel's research also included astrophotography of the night sky in Sonoma, CA. Daniel worked with Arthur Kosowsky of Pitt's Physics & Astronomy department in the creation of the project.
At the Science 2014 conference, Daniel presented a research poster featuring screen shots from the film, an explanation of how the film was made, and pictures from his astrophotography and visit to STScI. Conference attendees were also able to view the animation.