Instrumentation

Jump to: PEAS IGNIS NIRSPEC Upgrade

I started working in astronomical instrumentation as an undergraduate physics major at Texas A&M University (WHOOP!). I worked with Professors Darren DePoy and Jennifer Marshall in the Texas A&M Instrumentation Lab from May 2011- July 2012. I worked on the VIRUS collimator alignment for the HETDEX survey, helped install the flat-field screen for the Blanco 4-m telescope for DECal for the Dark Energy Survey Camera, and completed a senior thesis project on an optical design of a red-sensitive spectrograph.

I worked in the UCLA Infrared Lab from September 2012 – July 2018, with Prof. Ian McLean and Prof. Mike Fitzgerald. At UCLA, I was the Instrument Scientist for the NIRSPEC upgrade for the Keck II Telescope. My roles included optical design, mechanical prototyping and testing, detector characterization and testing, and electronics design and testing. In Fall 2018, I was a Keck Visiting Scholar, working to install the NIRSPEC upgrade on the summit of Maunakea.

Currently, I am an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow and UC Chancellor’s Fellow at UC Santa Cruz, working with Prof. Andy Skemer. I’m working on several instrument projects, including PEAS, a new instrument and telescope for Lick Observatory, and IGNIS, a new instrument concept for Keck.

PEAS: The Planet as Exoplanet Analog Spectrograph

I’m the PI of PEAS, the Planet as Exoplanet Analog Spectrograph, a dedicated 0.5-m telescope and novel instrument that will begin operating at Lick Observatory in Fall 2020. The instrument is designed to observe Solar System planets as if they are exoplanets. PEAS uses an integrating sphere to produce disk-integrated images of Solar System planets, which are then fed via fiber to a spectrograph. A beamsplitter sends some light to an imager so we can obtain simultaneous imaging and spectra of Solar System planets. The disk-integrated spectra and simultaneous imaging will then be analyzed using exoplanet modeling tools, in order to validate and test those tools. PEAS observations in combination with theoretical modeling will help to inform the next generation of instruments designed to characterize exoplanets. Watch my short presentation on PEAS at the virtual Astronomy on Tap, Santa Cruz, here!

IGNIS

I’m the co-PI of the IGNIS concept for Keck Observatory, along with Dr. Gregory Mace. We are currently studying an instrument concept that would provide Keck Observatory with simultaneous 1-5 micron, high-resolution, high throughput spectroscopy. The instrument design uses silicon immersion gratings from the UT immersion grating lab and has a design heritage from the IGRINS, MagNIFIES, and GMTNIRS instruments.

NIRSPEC Upgrade

I was the Instrument Scientist for the NIRSPEC upgrade for the Keck II Telescope. My roles included optical design, mechanical prototyping and testing, detector characterization and testing, and electronics design and testing. In Fall 2018, I was a Keck Visiting Scholar, working to install the NIRSPEC upgrade on the summit of Maunakea. I recently gave a talk all about the NIRSPEC upgrade, what it means to upgrade an instrument at Keck, and some exciting new science happening with upgraded NIRSPEC. Watch it here!

Installing the new slit-viewing camera that I designed in NIRSPEC