Research

In the summer of 2020, I worked with Prof. Ben Shappee at the Institute for Astronomy (IfA) REU program. We utilized archival data from the GALEX ultraviolet space telescope to assess the frequency of late-onset circumstellar medium (CSM) interaction among an unbiased sample of Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia). SNe Ia play a vital role as cosmological distance indicators, yet their progenitors are not fully understood. Late-onset CSM interaction is a potential clue to the state of the progenitor system before the explosion. We ultimately found no instances of CSM interaction out of over 1200 targets, and we constrained the frequency of these events. Our findings are in line with previous studies with the improvement of a larger and less biased sample of SNe Ia. I presented these findings at the 237th meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) in January 2021, and our paper is now available on the arxiv.

In the summer of 2019, I worked with Dr. Tyson Littenberg at the University of Alabama Huntsville on a project to characterize the instrument noise in data from the LISA Pathfinder (LPF) spacecraft. LPF was a technology demonstration mission launched in 2015 to pave the way for space-based gravitational wave (GW) detectors. Characterizing detector sensing noise is critical for detection of GWs, and whether this noise is stationary or non-stationary affects the statistical problems which must be solved before the next mission. We concluded that LPF instrumentation noise is highly non-stationary, which means current GW detection methods will not be adequate to handle data from space-based detectors. I presented these findings at a UAH internal research symposium and at the 235th AAS meeting in Honolulu.