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Contact Information: Tanya Klein Public Relations 973-596-3433

NJIT Astrophysicist Available To Discuss Impact of New Instruments on Our Understanding of the Planets

WHAT: Astrophysicist Dale Gary, professor and chair of the department of physics at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) returned yesterday from the International Astronomical Union’s general assembly in Prague.  Gary is available (work: 973-596-7878; home:  908-898-1553; cell: 908-917-0354) to discuss the ramifications of the change in Pluto’s status. “Pluto has been reclassified as a dwarf planet together with the large asteroid Ceres, and several other objects beyond Pluto,” he said. “Pluto will, however, be recognized as the prototype of a new category of objects with orbits beyond Neptune.  The name for this category could not be decided (in a close vote), so the category will be named after further deliberation by the Union.”

“As we learn more about the solar system, we realize that old definitions are inadequate,” he added. “That’s because the tools of science, especially telescopes and cameras, have undergone tremendous improvements. Sensitive, automated systems now scan the skies to discover faint moving objects, some of which are found to be large, distant, planet-sized objects.”

WHO: Gary is a noted telescope maker as well as the director of the Owens Valley Solar Array Radio Telescope, Big Pine, CA.  The author of more than 100 scholarly articles in academic journals, Gary is principal investigator for a design study for a new radiotelescope array called the Frequency Agile Solar Radiotelescope.  Gary’s research interests include solar and stellar radio physics, radio astronomy, and microwave instrumentation.  Gary received his BS in physics from University of Michigan and his PhD in astrogeophysics from University of Colorado.

NJIT, New Jersey's science and technology university, enrolls approximately 10,000 students pursuing bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in 120 programs. The university consists of six colleges: Newark College of Engineering, College of Architecture and Design, College of Science and Liberal Arts, School of Management, College of Computing Sciences and Albert Dorman Honors College. U.S. News & World Report's 2012 Annual Guide to America's Best Colleges ranked NJIT in the top tier of national research universities. NJIT is internationally recognized for being at the edge in knowledge in architecture, applied mathematics, wireless communications and networking, solar physics, advanced engineered particulate materials, nanotechnology, neural engineering and e-learning. Many courses and certificate programs, as well as graduate degrees, are available online through the Division of Continuing Professional Education.