- University of Maryland, Baltimore County
- NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
- Research Consortium on Nearby Stars (RECONS)
Collaboration with the TESS Team
In August 2019, I joined the TESS team at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD. I was a NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellow for three years, and now I’ve transitioned to a Postdoctoral Research Associate faculty position at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). Via a cooperative agreement between UMBC and NASA, I continue to work with the TESS team, with Dr. Joshua E. Schlieder as my advisor. My research focuses on nearby low-mass stars, with an emphasis on understanding the fully convective boundary, flare star properties, and transiting planets.
I recently led the discovery and characterization of the LHS 1678 exoplanet system, a nearby “Gaia gap” M dwarf with an uncommon history, hosting a scarcely-detected substellar companion in a decades-long orbit and three rocky planets that are candidates for atmospheric characterization with JWST. The three planets are some of the smallest to date and include an ultrashort period planet and two Venus zone planets in near-resonance. This deep-dive effort to comprehensively understand each component and the system as a whole included data from 15 different telescope systems with time baselines as long as 16 years and ranging from direct imaging to ground-based astrometry to high-precision radial velocity data and more. I intend to continue work on this system, while bringing my experience in holistic exoplanet system characterization to collaborations on other systems and projects.
Continued Connection with RECONS
Collaboration with the RECONS team is ongoing, most notably on topics of astrometry and ground-based observations.
Promoting Small Telescopes: Although my time as the official “SMARTS Graduate Fellow” is over, I continue to promote the use of small telescopes in Chile, namely the SMARTS/CTIO 0.9m and SMARTS/CTIO 1.5m telescopes at CTIO. I am happy to discuss (1) whether either of these telescopes are right for your goals, (2) how to apply for or buy time, (3) how to obtain observations, (4) what to do with the resulting data, or (5) any other questions you may have.
The Tie between RECONS and SMARTS: RECONS currently runs two telescopes on the mountain in Chile. The first is the SMARTS/CTIO 0.9m telescope, at which we have an ongoing 20-year astrometry program. The long time-baseline of the program, extraordinary stability of the telescope and camera, and expertise of the team make this program a strong contributor to astrometric and photometric studies of nearby stars, even in the era of Gaia astrometry (publications). RECONS also runs the SMARTS/CTIO 1.5m telescope, most notably leading a comprehensive K dwarf radial velocity survey and providing key follow-up of exoplanet candidates.