Ammar Bayyari

Ammar recently graduated with a dual Bachelor of Science (Honors) degree in Astrophysics and Physics from the University of Cincinnati. As an undergraduate, he worked with Dr. Mike Sitko on modeling the protoplanetary dust disks around Herbig AeBe stars. Currently, he is part of a group that is monitoring HD 169142 as they believe it may be the first disk that’ll be observed to go from pre-transitional phase to transitional using NASA’s InfraRed Telescope Facility (IRTF). Additionally, he is modeling the dust disk around MWC 758 using a Monte Carlo radiative transfer code in order to help explain the different brightness features (such as a misaligned and warped inner disk) of the disk as seen in images from ground-based telescopes. He plans to submit a first-authored paper of the aforementioned work to the Astrophysical Journal in the next couple of months.

In the Fall of 2019, Ammar will be moving to the University of Hawaii for graduate school where he will be focusing on planet formation.

Monika Pikhartovà

Monika graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2018 with a dual Bachelor of Science in Astrophysics and Physics. She is leading a project to understand the dramatic (~0.8 magnitude) drop in the V-band photometry of the HD 163296 system. The system is also known to have strong outflowing jets. In her soon-to-be submitted paper, she uses Monte Carlo Radiative Transfer to attribute this brightness drop to the changes in the gas outflows, which are known to have dust in them. Her model also shows that reduction of the outflow of material would naturally lead to the subsequent increase in near-IR emission that was reported in 2002.

She is currently a graduate student at the Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy at the University of Amsterdam where she focuses on the magnetic fields of Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) shocks with Dr. Jacco Vink.

Dakotah Tyler

Dakotah graduated from the University of Cincinnati at the end of Fall 2019 with a dual Bachelor of Science degree in Astrophysics and Physics. He spent his undergraduate years working with Mike Sitko researching accretion disks around Herbig Ae and T Tauri stars. His main project during this period was analyzing correlations between the emission strengths of  Hydrogen lines to calibrate mass accretion rates for observations lacking specific wavelength information. He is currently working on a first author paper for the calibration process. He was also a member of a research group based at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics where he is analyzing publicly available data on the Sun to better account for stellar activity contributions to exoplanet observations.

Dakotah is current a graduate student at the University of California, Los Angeles where he works with Dr. Erik Petigura to shed light on the origins and evolution of exoplanetary systems by studying exoplanet atmospheres. He is specifically interested in characterizing the variability of the solar Helium I 1083 nm line to better understand how this stellar chromospheric feature varies in time in an effort to detangle the signal from that of the same Helium line present in the upper atmosphere of Hot Jupiters undergone atmospheric escape. 

© 2019 by Rachel Fernandes, created with

Background image Credit: Solar Systems nearest Star systems (

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