James L. Carmon Scholarship
Jason Terry, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, is developing technologies that could revolutionize interpretations of telescope data. Recent generations of powerful telescopes, such as the James Webb Space Telescope, offer fresh information about the regions where exoplanets (planets outside of our solar system) form. Unfortunately, an exoplanet might be engulfed by dust or other obscuring phenomena, leaving traces in telescope images so subtle that the human eye might not notice or understand them. To address this gap, Terry will use existing astronomical images and high-performance computational resources to generate thousands of simulations of the regions where exoplanets form. He will use simulations to train machine-learning algorithms to help scientists detect exoplanets from real observations and answer new astronomical questions. This research will offer a novel method to estimate masses and locations of exoplanets and change how we search for and characterize them.