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Museum Astrophysicist Receives Award

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Museum astrophysicist Jacqueline Faherty, who recently completed her doctorate under the supervision of Curator Michael Shara, was one of five students at Stony Brook University who received the 2011 President’s Award for Distinguished Doctoral Students.

Faherty’s dissertation looked at the kinematics of brown dwarfs—objects intermediate between planets and stars because they aren’t massive enough for nuclear fusion. The award citation is:

“For creating the largest extant catalog of uniform astrometric data on brown dwarfs, and for making significant contributions to our understanding of the nature and physics of brown dwarfs based upon this astrometric data.”

Tags: Our Research, Rose Center for Earth and Space

Mouse-opossum

Minute Marsupial: Zeledon’s Mouse Opossum

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Small enough to climb onto the inflorescence, or flower cluster, of a palm plant, this tiny mouse opossum belongs to a newly re-classified South American species: Zeledon’s mouse opossum (Marmosa zeledoni). Minute marsupials like this one are rarely seen at flowers, but this species may be a pollinator for some neotropical palms.

Zeledon’s mouse opossum was previously lumped together with the Mexican mouse opossum, Marmosa mexicanaBut in a recent study partly funded by the National Science Foundation, Curator Rob Voss of the Division of Vertebrate Zoology at the American Museum of Natural History and colleagues examined roughly 1,500 mouse opossum specimens, some collected from as far back as the 1800s. They determined that what had been known as the Mexican mouse opossum could actually be subdivided into two different species.

Tags: Mammals, Our Research

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