I’ve worked on a wide array of projects over my career in astronomy; here are some I’ve been most involved in. Please click the links for a bit more info about what I’ve done!
Much of my graduate career has revolved around the study of extragalactic globular cluster populations. These fascinating objects are extremely exotic environments compared to the Sun’s local neighborhood in our galaxy. The global properties of these systems tell us a great deal about how a particular galaxy has evolved over its lifetime to appear as it does today.
My thesis work focuses on cataloging and characterizing the globular cluster populations of the 25 nearby galaxies in the SLUGGS Survey. I am developing a novel Bayesian method for simultaneous modelling of both the globular clusters and nuisance contaminants in our photometric samples.
One alternative to ground-based globular cluster imaging is to use the instruments aboard the Hubble Space Telescope. While the time is much more difficult to attain and the field of view is much smaller, the quality of Hubble imaging is unparalleled, allowing near-perfect discrimination between bona fide globular clusters and contaminants.
Relevant Papers: Jennings et al. 2014a
Ultra-compact dwarf galaxies are star clusters that are intermediate in size and mass between globular clusters and dwarf galaxies. The processes that create globular clusters are totally distinct from those that create dwarf galaxies, and which family ultra-compact dwarfs fit is an unresolved question.
Relevant Papers: Jennings et al. 2015
Once upon a time in undergrad, I worked on a project to estimate the masses of supernova progenitor stars thousands of years after they had exploded based on the properties of their surrounding stellar populations. By applying this method to the outstanding Panchromatic Hubble Andromeda Treasury dataset, we were able to increase the number of supernova progenitor mass measurements in the literature by a factor of five.