My research interests include star formation, circumstellar disks, and exoplanet detection and formation.

My Ph.D thesis, under the advisement of Dr. Joel Kastner (RIT), involves studying the circumstellar disks around nearby young  stars. Using multiwavelength data from both ground and space based telescopes, we are  determining the contents and structure of the gas and dust in these disks. By studying the composition of planet forming regions around other stars, we can learn more about the formation of our own solar system and how Earth obtained the necessary molecules for life to thrive.



Gemini Planet Imager polarized light image of the disk around V4046 Sgr


I am also working on a project with fellow gradute student Billy Vazquez that involves searching for transiting exoplanets and stellar variability in the open cluster M103 (right). We have been imaging M103 since October, 2011 at the Vazquez Astronomical Observatory (VAO) in Webster, NY with a 12inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope. We are in the process of cataloging all stellar variability in the region, and using Stromgren photometry to approximate the spectra type of sources in the region. Follow-up work is being conducted at the WIYN 0.9m at Kitt Peak in Arizona.



                                                                                                                                                                Open cluster M103 taken at the VAO

In December of 2012, fellow graduate students Billy Vazquez, Marcus Freeman and I were awarded a grant to purchase an LHIRES III spectrograph, which will be mounted on the telescope at the VAO, and also use at the RIT observatory. With this instrument, and the assistance of Dr. Michael Richmond (RIT), we are determining the spectral type of many stars in M103, and also measuring the lithium abundances of nearby young stars to determine their age.



2014 RIT College of Science Alumni Endowed Scholarship

2014 Chambliss Astronomy Achievement Award honorable mention

2014 National Astronomy Ambassador

2012 RIT Center for Imaging Science Innovative Student Research Grant

2012 RIT Graduate Research and Creativity Grant

2012 RIT Graduate Research Symposium Honorable Mention for a high quality presentation

2011-12 New York Space Grant Consortium Fellowship



Scattered Light from Dust in the Cavity of the V4046 Sgr
Rapson, V., Kastner, J. H., Andrews, S. M., Hines, D. C., Macintosh, B., Millar-Blanchaer, M., Tamura, M., 2015, Accepted to ApJL ADS

A Combined Spitzer and Herschel Infrared Study of Gas and Dust in the Circumbinary Disk Orbiting V4046 Sgr
Rapson, V., Kastner, J. H., Sacco, G. G., Sargent, B., Wilner, D. , Rosenfeld, K. Andrews, S. M., Herczeg, G., van der Marel, N., 2014, submitted to ApJ

A Spitzer View of the Giant Molecular Cloud Mon OB1 East/NGC 2264  
Rapson, V., Pipher, J. L., Gutermuth, R. A., Megeath, S. T., Allen, T., Myers, P. C. Allen, L. E., 2014, ApJ, 794, 124  ADS

Reaching for the Stars in your Golden Years: The Importance of Outreach for Senior Citizens
Rapson, V. July 2014, CAPjournal, Issue 15  Online journal

V4046 Sgr: Touchstone to Investigate Spectral Type Discrepancies for Pre-main Sequence Stars
Kastner, J. H., Rapson, V., Sargent, B., Smith, C. T., Rayner, J., 2014, Proceedings of Lowell Observatory: 18th Cambridge Workshop on Cool Stars, Stellar Systems, and the Sun ADS

The Chandra X-Ray Survey of Planetary Nebulae (CHANPLANS): Probing Binarity, Magnetic Fields, and Wind Collisions
Kastner, J. H.; Montez, R., Jr.; Balick, B.; Frew, D. J.; Miszalski, B.; Sahai, R.; Blackman, E.; Chu, Y.-H.; De Marco, O.; Frank, A.; Guerrero, M. A.; Lopez, J. A.; Rapson, V.; Zijlstra, A.; Behar, E.; Bujarrabal, V.; Corradi, R. L. M.; Nordhaus, J.; Parker, Q. A.; Sandin, C.; Schönberner, D.; Soker, N.; Sokoloski, J. L.; Steffen, M.; Ueta, T.; Villaver, E., 2012, AJ  ADS

A Spitzer IRS Survey of NGC 1333: Insights into disk evolution from a very young cluster
Arnold,  L. A., Watson, D. M., Kim,  K. H., Manoj, P., Remming, I., Sheehan, P., Adame, L., Forrest, W., Furlan, E., Mamajek, E., McClure, M., Espaillat, C., Ausfeld, K., Rapson, V. 2011, ApJS, 201, 12  ADS

Analysis of an Aerosol- Based Geo-Engineering Proposal: Preliminary Report
Rapson, V., University of Rochester. 2008

Contaminant Resistant Sol-Gel Coatings for High Peak Power Laser Applications
Marshall K. L., Rapson, V. A., Zhang,Y., Mitchell, G., Rigatti, A., 2007   OIB


Select Research Presentations

225th AAS meeting: January 2015, Seattle, WA  Research Poster    Outreach Poster

223rd AAS meeting: January 2014, Washington, D.C. Research Poster   Outreach Poster

From Stars to Life Conference: April 2013, University of Florida  Poster

RIT President's Lunch: March 2013, Rochester Institute of Technology  Poster

219th AAS Meeting: January 2012, Austin, TX Abstract


                                                                                                                                                  Poster presentation at an undergraduate conference