An astronomer building space telescopes large and small – with a focus on directly imaging exoplanets: worlds around other stars
I recently joined the faculty of UArizona’s Steward Observatory in Spring 2019. As a postdoctoral associate in Prof. Kerri Cahoy’s STAR Lab, part of MIT’s Dept. of Aeronautics and Astronautics, I am the payload engineer for the DeMi CubeSat to test deformable mirrors in space and enable the next generation of exoplanet imaging space telescopes.
|DeMi CubeSat rendering, courtesy Blue Canyon Technologies||Hubble Space Telescope, courtesy STScI|
My graduate work in astronomy at Boston University focused on integrating, relaunching, and understanding the PICTURE-B sounding rocket mission which demonstrated active wavefront sensing in space - an essential technology for stabilizing space telescope optics enough to sense reflected light from exoplanets against the billion times brighter signal from their host stars.
|PICTURE-B Payload||PICTURE-B Integration at White Sands Missile Range (Courtesy NASA)|
(Read more in my dissertation, Douglas 2016).
Other projects I have contributed to:
- building the Dual-Wavelength Echidna Lidar (DWEL),
- testing the detectors for the Interstellar Medium Absorption Gradient Experiment Rocket (IMAGER),
- and inferring the density of the terrestrial ionosphere using observations from the the Remote Atmospheric and Ionospheric Detection System extreme ultraviolet spectrograph (EUVS) from the International Space Station.
|Dual-wavelength Echnida Lidar distinguishes leaves from trunks to quantify forest carbon uptake||Remote Atmospheric and Ionospheric Detection System mounted on the International Space Statio|
Before graduate school, I worked at LIGO Hanford Observatory.
Many summers, I have a blast teaching the talented students at Astronomy Camp.
I am committed to enabling access to research tools through using open source programming languages and contributing to open source scientific libraries. Please find examples, such as Physical Optics Propagation in PYthon, on my GitHub profile.
My scientific publications are listed on my Google Scholar Profile or the ADS: