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Alessondra Springmann

Alessondra Springmann

Alessondra Springmann

Alessondra Springmann has a very long name and is better known as "Sondy". She has a bachelor's in Astrophysics from Wellesley College and a master's in Earth & Planetary Science from MIT. She is currently located in Arecibo, Puerto Rico working at Arecibo Observatory studying asteroids with radar after living in Accra, San Francisco, Tokyo, Boston, Jerusalem, Pasadena, Socorro, and Point Reyes.

Sondy has won awards for teaching and public speaking, bringing complex ideas to wide audiences. She's worked for NASA and JAXA as a researcher, as well as PCWorld as a writer. Her work has taken her to Ghana, Japan, Chile, and the Middle East. In Jerusalem she taught computer science and business skills to Palestinian and Israeli high school students, and in Accra she taught entrepreneurship and mobile app development to university students.

No stranger to working on asteroid data from the perspective of optical lightcurves, infrared spectra, and radar surface properties, Sondy has also studied Saturn's rings, exoplanets, Pluto, the Kuiper Belt, and extragalactic radio sources by way of variety.

In her free time, Sondy also enjoys sailing and hiking, as well as serving on the board for non-profits.

Sondy can be reached at,, or @sondy on Twitter.

Latest Blog Posts

How Arecibo Observatory Transmits to the ISEE-3 Spacecraft

July 16, 2014

Talking to spacecraft is a normal occurrence at Arecibo Observatory, but sometimes the nuts and bolts are a little unconventional.

Arecibo Observatory operational after repairs to fix earthquake damage

April 09, 2014

Early in the morning on January 13, 2014, a 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck beneath the Atlantic Ocean north of Puerto Rico, damaging Arecibo Observatory, the world’s largest single-dish radio telescope. The telescope is now operational after repairs and scientists have resumed observations. However, the future of Arecibo Observatory remains unclear due to funding uncertainties in the federal budget.

How radar really works: The steps involved before getting an image

June 24, 2013

Arecibo Observatory is known for its 1000-foot diameter telescope and its appearances in Goldeneye and Contact. Aside from battling Bond villains and driving red diesel Jeeps around the telescope (grousing at the site director about the funding status of projects is optional), several hundred hours a year of telescope time at Arecibo go toward radar studies of asteroids.

astronaut on Phobos
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