Current Research

Europa – Exploring an Icy Ocean World

Advisor – Mike Brown

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Europa, one of Jupiter’s Galilean moons, is thought to have an iron core, a rocky mantle and a deep ocean of salty water beneath its ice crust. The Europa Clipper mission, due to be launched in 2022, will conduct detailed reconnaissance of Jupiter's moon Europa and investigate whether the icy moon could harbor conditions suitable for life. 

The goal of my research is to investigate Europa’s atmosphere and understand the mechanisms controlling its variability. We will observe Europa’s atmosphere using the Keck HIRES (High Resolution Echelle Spectrometer) instrument and compare results to model predictions. 


Stable Storms – Exploring vortices at Jupiter’s south pole

Advisors – Andrew Ingersoll, Cheng Li

The Juno mission discovered 2000km-diameter cyclones arranged in polygonal patterns at the poles of Jupiter. At the south pole we observe five circumpolar cyclones arranged in a regular pentagon around a central polar cyclone. These cyclones appear to be stable – they have not merged over the one-year period that they have been observed by Juno. The goal of this research is to model the vortices at Jupiter’s south pole and determine the conditions required for the non-merging and stable pattern that we observe. 


 

Past Research

Red dots

Searching for rocky planets around nearby stars.

Red Dots

Red Dots is a project to attempt detection of the nearest terrestrial planets to the Sun, those in temperate orbits around nearby red dwarf stars that can be more easily detected using Doppler spectroscopy. The 2017 campaign focused on three of these red-dwarfs. The Red Dots team will observe these stars using the High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS) while obtaining quasi-simultaneous photometry with different observatories all over the world. 

As a member of the Red Dots outreach and editorial team, I am responsible for social media and writing community logs that summarise the activity from the wider astronomy community as this research unfolds.


Graduate Research project

Advisor - Guillem Anglada-Escude

Combining the SPHERE high-contrast imager with high-dispersion spectroscopy (HDS) with the aim of directly imaging exoplanets

In 2016/2017 I worked with Professor Guillem Anglada-Escude on a research project to directly image exoplanets by combining the Spectro-Polarimetric High-contrast Exoplanet REsearch (SPHERE) high-contrast imager with high-dispersion spectroscopy (HDS). My goal was to study the instrumentation characteristics of SPHERE and consider the optimal design for a HDS instrument to interact with SPHERE that maximizes the signal-to-noise ratio in exoplanet detection.


There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere.
— Issac Asimov