Rachael Roettenbacher first caught a glimpse of spots on a star’s surface as an undergraduate researcher, and she hasn’t stopped looking at them since. An expert in capturing images and defining the features of stars, Rachael uses an observational method called interferometry, in which she combines light from a spread of telescopes to create a… Continue Reading
Motivated by theoretical questions, Luke Bouma is compelled to discover how different planet archetypes come to exist. His niche is observing young versions of the mature planetary systems routinely detected in our galaxy. The host stars of these young planets are intrinsically rare, and their flares and varying brightness can make planet detection challenging. To… Continue Reading
Anticipating scientific revelations to come from forthcoming space telescopes, Brianna Lacy seeks to assist the field in processing a flood of new information with sophisticated techniques. Her contribution to the effort is a toolkit that realistically simulates observational data and identifies pressing questions based on the results. This framework converges multiple observational methods to study… Continue Reading
The moment Melodie Kao makes a new astronomical detection, she savors being the sole keeper of a secret about the universe. An astonishing discovery she made as a graduate student heralded a paradigm shift in the way scientists understand the engines that power planetary magnetic fields. Collaborating with a team, Melodie used radio observations to… Continue Reading
Ellen Price thrives most when tackling complex problems with big picture implications. As a theorist, she uses her mathematical intuition and computer programming talents to create simulations that explore the diverse outcomes of planetary formation. The focus of Ellen’s work is protoplanetary disks—the birthplaces of planets. Using highly efficient code, she simulates how the disk… Continue Reading
Yifan Zhou first became intrigued by exoplanets upon seeing one in a Hubble Space Telescope image during a college research project. Today, he leverages high-precision data from that same space telescope to support his own observational technique for exploring distant worlds. Yifan measures how much mass young exoplanets gain over time, and maps the cloud… Continue Reading
Samantha Trumbo strives to unveil the mysteries hidden within the ice-covered, subsurface ocean of Europa (one of Jupiter’s four Galilean moons). Her main goal is to clarify the origins and behavior of Europa’s surface chemistry—using telescope observations to disentangle traces of native oceanic components from those associated with materials derived from the volcanoes of the… Continue Reading
The Heising-Simons Foundation is proud to regularly see its grantee partners featured in media outlets across the country, providing an expert voice on a timely issue or being highlighted for their accomplishments and hard work. Here are some news items that have featured our grantees in January 2020.