John Della Costa
John Della Costa is a graduate student at San Diego State University in their Astronomy Master's Program. He has a deep passion for astronomy and education. He spends most of his time teaching anyone and everyone who listens about our universe and how amazing it is. Every semester he does extensive outreach, from Starlab Portable Planetarium shows, to constellation tours, talks on a variety of astronomical topics, telescope demonstrations, and now, because of Covid-19, virtual planetarium shows and virtual telescope demonstrations. He reaches over 1000 students, from first graders to college students, each semester with his outreach in Florida, California, and more coming soon! He is also one of the most active scientists in the Scientist in Every Florida School program, where he does astronomy outreach for elementary students across the entire State of Florida. His passion also drove him to start his own charity in 2020, called The Starbound Foundation, which will bring astronomy outreach to thousands of students in all 50 states through the use of Starlab Portable Planetariums.
John has many research interests; some might say too many! He mainly focuses his efforts on understanding what powers the supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies across our vast universe. He also studies cosmic car collisions, when two galaxies merge, to try and piece together what the galaxies were like before the collision and to learn more about the new stars forming in them and their central black holes. He also studies Supernovae, massive stellar explosions, that occur billions of light years away to learn more about the expansion history of the universe and to decipher the recent discrepancies found within cosmology that will shape future research in the field. Finally, he is an avid observer and data user at telescopes around the world (and above it!), from Hawaii, to California, to Arizona, Florida, Spain, and all the way to outer space!
Anyone can appreciate the beauty of the night sky, but a guided galactic tour with an astronomer takes it to new levels. You won't want to miss John's stellar presentation and field project at the end of October!