RGZ Team Spotlight: Stas Shabala
To introduce you to the Radio Galaxy Zoo team, we’re doing a series of blog posts written by each team member — in no particular order. Meet Stas Shabala, our team Project Manager from the University of Tasmania, Australia:
I grew up in Tasmania, a gorgeous part of the world which also happens to be the place Grote Reber, the world’s first radio astronomer, called home for 50 years. After finishing university, I made a pilgrimage that these days is more or less standard for young Australians – I moved to the UK. I ended up staying for six years, and it was during my time in Oxford that I became involved with Galaxy Zoo. Normal galaxies are interesting but – given our history- a Tasmanian’s true heart will always be with radio astronomy. That’s why I have such a soft spot for Radio Galaxy Zoo.
Recently, I’ve been trying to figure out why radio galaxies come in so many different shapes, sizes and luminosities. Data from Radio Galaxy Zoo will go a long way to answering these questions. I’ve also had lots of fun using active black holes as beacons to accurately measure positions on Earth. It’s just like navigation by stars, but much more precise because stars move around in the sky a fair bit, whereas black holes don’t. The neat thing is, these measurements make it possible to study all sorts of geophysical processes here on Earth. It’s such a cool concept- using black holes to measure the movement of tectonic plates!