Star Formation in Hostile Environments
My thesis work is being completed with Professor Andrea Ghez. I am studying various hostile star-forming regions to determine how the environment of star formation influences the types of stars that are forming. This could clue us into the star formation history of a given region as well as place constraints on star formation mechanisms.
Astrometry of Young Binary Systems
I am working on measuring dynamical masses of T Tauri binaries to better constrain our knowledge of the evolution of these pre-main sequence stars. In particular, I'm also looking at circumbinary systems to determine if binary star systems can carve out an inner whole in the systems.
I am also working with the AO-Optimization team at UCLA (advisors: Professors Andrea Ghez and Michael Fitzgerald) as part of my thesis work. Our goal is to characterize and correct for anisoplanatism arising from the Keck II Adaptive Optics System. I gave a presentation on our results at the 2012 SPIE Astsronomical Telescopes and Instrumentation conference in Amsterdam (the paper is located here). I am currently working on a model to describe the instrumental affects on the Point Spread Function as its position varies across the field of view of it's detector.
Keck AO Observations of the Protostellar Disk around Radio Source I in the Orion Kleinmann-Low Nebula
I completed my second year project with Professors Mark Morris, Andrea Ghez, and Eric Becklin on the kinematics and morphology of the Orion star-forming region using high-angular resolution imaging taken at multiple epochs. We also conducted studies of the protostellar disk around Radio Source I and its morphology in the near-infrared using Keck AO data. We have also worked with collaborators to model the disk to explain it's nature. You can find the abstract for the talk I gave at the 2012 AAS meeting here. The corresponding paper is here.
Integral Field Spectroscopy of Bipolar Jets
My undergraduate research was focused on determining the physical conditions of the jet from LkHa233 - a young, massive star. I worked on this with Dr. Marshall Perrin. We used integral field spectroscopy from both OSIRIS on Keck and GMOS on Gemini in NIR and Optical bands. We measured the proper motion of the jet from this star, since there were two distinct knots on the red-shifted side of the jet. Using intrinsic line ratios, we mapped the electron density, temperature, and extinction through the entirety of the jet. There is definitely still more work to do on this project, and it is currently in progress. You can find my 2009 AAS Poster abstract here.
Non-Redundant Aperture Masking
During the summer of 2009, I worked with Professor James Lloyd on non-redundant masking techniques for the James Webb Space Telescope. Non-redundant aperture masking has been used to achieve resolution of binary stars beyond the conventional diffraction limit, at spearations as small as .5*lambda/D. FGS/TFI on JWST will include a non-redundant mask to exploit this super-resolution property. Although the usual data alalysis method for non-redundant apertures is an interferometric approach, the super-resolution advantage of masked apertures can also be understood through deconvolution. You can find my 2010 AAS Poster abstract here.
I worked with Professor Adam Burgasser at UCSD on the discovery of a T dwarf companion to the hyperactive L dwarf 2MASS J13153094-2649513, aka 2MASS 1315-2649. It is an unusually active, high proper-motion mid-type L dwarf. Resolved spectroscopy with the OSIRIS IFU on Keck confirmed the T dwarf nature of the companion. At a projected separation of ~7 AU, the secondary is too wide for Roche lobe overflow to be responsible for the system's persistent activity, but may provide a clue as to the origin of this rare subclass of active ultracool dwarfs.
Protoplanetary Disks around Very Low-Mass Stars
I work with Dr. Carl Melis on probing the primordial disks around low-mass stars. We have identified two low-mass, young, nearby dusty stars in the Taurus and Ophiuchus star-forming regions, and, through near-infrared and optical spectroscopy, have classfied them both as M-type stars. We hope to perform detailed studies of these two new disk systems in an effort to increase the small sample size of well-characterized protoplanetary disks orbiting low mass stars. You can find my 2011 AAS Poster abstract here.