T e r r y  K u c e r a
Solar Physicist
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

For the past three years I have been working as a solar physicist on the team of the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO). I work with two of the instruments in particular, CDS and SUMER, both ultraviolet spectrometers. I help to operate them, deciding when and what they should observe, and coordinating with people working with other instruments, spacecraft, and observatories so that we can observe the same things at once in many different ways.

I analyze the data we get back, studying different features in the Sun's atmosphere (like prominences and active regions). I want to compare the data to predictions of different models of how the Sun works. I also work with teachers who are figuring out how to use our data and information in their classrooms.

I'm from Evanston, IL, a suburb of Chicago, the oldest of three daughters. As a kid I was quiet and bookish - reading novels was my favorite activity by far. I started getting interested in astronomy in grade school (before that I wanted to study dinosaurs), but I didn't really think of it very seriously as a career because 1) I was told you had to be good at math - which I thought meant (yawn) arithmetic and 2) I heard it was very hard to get a job as an astronomer. Still, though, I got involved in a local Astronomy Explorer Scout group in high school. We had a lot of fun doing star gazing parties and goofing around on computers. I still have a number of friends that I knew in that group.

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