20 Years of Astronomy

On February 2, 2000 I decided to become an astronomer. Twenty years ago my sixth grade class went on a week-long field trip to Yosemite National Park. Part of the trip included a night hike into the valley to see the stars. It was my first time seeing the Milky Way and attempting to fathom the vastness of the Universe… Read more →

The Amazing Betty Kitty

12/21/2007 – 11/15/2019 Warning: This is long. But, she was an amazing cat, so it’s worth it. Betty was born on 12/21/2007 at the Washington DC Humane Society to a stray momma cat that had been turned into the shelter. For reasons that aren’t well understood, she was adopted out before being spayed (but after being named and microchipped) to… Read more →

Flying on SOFIA

On October 15, 2017 I got the amazing opportunity to travel on SOFIA, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy. My University of Washington advisor, Emily Levesque, proposed to observe the dust of massive red supergiant stars using FORCAST, a mid-IR camera and spectrograph. My long-time collaborator Phil Massey was a co-I on the proposal and they both agreed to take… Read more →

Snowy trip to Las Campanas

In early September, Phil Massey and I flew back to Las Campanas to observe for 2 nights on the Baade 6.5-m Magellan telescope using MagE, a moderate resolution optical echelle spectrograph. Though the seeing was awful (between 1.5 – 3″ !!!), we still managed to find some red supergiant + B star binaries in the Magellanic Clouds. We even found… Read more →

Advanced to PhD Candidacy!

I am now a PhD Candidate in Astronomy at the University of Washington! At UW, the general exam consists of being given a topic and learning as much as you can about the topic in a week. At the end of the week you give an hour long presentation to the department and then have a closed-door session with your… Read more →

MMT’s 40th Anniversary Conference

In May 2019 I traveled to Tucson to present my thesis research on Red Supergiant + B star Binary Systems at the MMT’s Anniversary Conference. Five of my 12 papers have been published thanks to MMT data (and, specifically the Hectospec instrument), so it was only fitting that I travel to celebrate this wonderful telescope’s anniversary. Read more →

Honoring Nidia Morrell in Argentina

I recently travelled to Bariloche, Argentina to give an invited talk on “Surveys and Properties of Wolf-Rayet Stars” at NidiaFest, a conference in honor of the 65th birthday of Nidia Morrell. I’ve observed with Nidia many times at Las CampaƱas and consider her one of my closest collaborators. Before the conference, ten of us (including Phil and Nidia) travelled across… Read more →

Short trip to the MMT

In mid-September Phil and I made a short trip to the MMT for one night of observing on Hectospec. Sadly the guider didn’t work and we didn’t get any data (with sub-arcsecond seeing!!), but Hectospec operates in queue mode so we weren’t totally out of luck. In fact, the night after we left one of our fields was observed. I… Read more →

Working with the Geneva Evolutionary Group

In early July I travelled to Geneva, Switzerland to work with the Geneva Evolutionary Group on understanding the luminosity function of Red Supergiants (RSGs) in M31. We had previously obtained telescope time on UKIRT on Mauna Kea in Hawaii to observe thousands of RSGs. After photometrically separating the ones in M31 out from the foreground stars we were able to… Read more →