I’m an observational astronomer focused on detecting and characterizing planetary systems orbiting nearby stars. I use telescopes on the ground and in space to search for planets, probe their atmospheres, measure their masses, and constrain their bulk compositions. I am curious about how planets form and evolve with time, the frequency of planetary systems in the Galaxy, and the prospects for detecting life on planets outside of our Solar System.
Using multiple telescopes, I refined the properties of planetary systems detected by the NASA K2 mission and found that many of the coolest target stars are larger than previously assumed.
(Image credit: NASA)
Working with the HARPS-N Collaboration, I measured the mass of the small planet Kepler-93b and found that the densities of all small, highly-irradiated planets can be explained by a single Earth-like compositional model.
Using the full four-year Kepler data set, I found that small planets are common in the galaxy. On average, one out of every four low-mass stars harbors a potentially habitable Earth-sized planet.
(Image credit: D. Aguilar/CfA)
I have several projects available for undergraduate researchers. Please send me an email if you're interested in trying out exoplanet research or if you'd like to learn more about STEM career paths.
I am currently advising Charles Fortenbach (Master's student, SFSU) and Andrew Mayo (entering Cal fall 2018). I'm also looking for new graduate students. Would you like to join the group?
I am eager to collaborate with postdoctoral researchers at Cal and beyond. Please email me if you'd like to learn more about research and funding opportunities at Cal.