T. J. W. Lazio

California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, United States

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Publications (247)737.97 Total impact

  • Dayton L. Jones, T. Joseph W. Lazio, Jack O. Burns
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    ABSTRACT: The period between the creation of the cosmic microwave background at a redshift of ~1000 and the formation of the first stars and black holes that re-ionize the intergalactic medium at redshifts of 10-20 is currently unobservable. The baryonic component of the universe during this period is almost entirely neutral hydrogen, which falls into local regions of higher dark matter density. This seeds the formation of large-scale structures including the cosmic web that we see today in the filamentary distribution of galaxies and clusters of galaxies. The only detectable signal from these dark ages is the 21-cm spectral line of hydrogen, redshifted down to frequencies of approximately 10-100 MHz. Space-based observations of this signal will allow us to determine the formation epoch and physics of the first sources of ionizing radiation, and potentially detect evidence for the decay of dark matter particles. JPL is developing deployable low frequency antenna and receiver prototypes to enable both all-sky spectral measurements of neutral hydrogen and ultimately to map the spatial distribution of the signal as a function of redshift. Such observations must be done from space because of Earth's ionosphere and ubiquitous radio interference. A specific application of these technologies is the Dark Ages Radio Explorer (DARE) mission. This small Explorer class mission is designed to measure the sky-averaged hydrogen signal from the shielded region above the far side of the Moon. These data will complement ground-based radio observations of the final stages of intergalactic re-ionization at higher frequencies. DARE will also serve as a scientific percursor for space-based interferometry missions to image the distribution of hydrogen during the cosmic dark ages.
    12/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: We present initial pulsar results from the first station of the Long Wavelength Array (LWA1) obtained during the commissioning period of LWA1 and early science results. We present detections of periodic emission from 38 previously known pulsars, including 3 millisecond pulsars (MSPs). The effects of the interstellar medium on pulsar emission are significantly enhanced at the low frequencies of the LWA1 band (10--88 MHz), making LWA1 a very sensitive instrument for characterizing changes in dispersion measures (DM) and other effects from the interstellar medium. We report DM measurements for 38 pulsars and mean flux density measurements for 24 pulsars. We also introduce the LWA1 Pulsar Data Archive, which stores reduced data products from LWA1 pulsar observations. Reduced data products for the observations presented here can be found on the archive. Reduced data products from future LWA1 pulsar observations will also be made available through the archive.
    10/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Detection of global HI 21 cm signal from the Cosmic Dawn and the Epoch of Reionization is the key science driver for several ongoing ground-based and future ground/space based experiments. The crucial spectral features in the global 21cm signal (turning points) occurs at low radio frequencies < 100 MHz. In addition to the human-generated RFI (Radio Frequency Interference), Earth's ionosphere drastically corrupts low-frequency radio observations from the ground. In this paper, we examine the effects of time-varying ionospheric refraction, absorption and thermal emission at these low radio frequencies and their combined effect on any ground-based global 21cm experiment. It should be noted that this is the first study of the effect of a dynamic ionosphere on global 21cm experiments. Our results indicate that the spectral features in the global 21cm signal below 100 MHz cannot be detected from the ground under even "quiet" night-time ionospheric conditions. Any attempt to calibrate the ionospheric effect will be subject to the inaccuracies in the current ionospheric measurements using GPS (Global Positioning System) ionospheric measurements, riometer measurements, ionospheric soundings, etc. Even considering an optimistic improvement in the accuracy of GPS-TEC (Total Electron Content) measurements, we conclude that the detection of the global 21cm signal below 100 MHz from the ground is not possible. Hence, a space-based mission above the Earth's atmosphere is best suited to carry out these high sensitivity observations of the global 21 cm signal at low radio frequencies.
    09/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The radio millisecond pulsar J1713+0747 is regarded as one of the highest-precision clocks in the sky, and is regularly timed for the purpose of detecting gravitational waves. The International Pulsar Timing Array collaboration undertook a 24-hour global observation of PSR J1713+0747 in an effort to better quantify sources of timing noise in this pulsar, particularly on intermediate (1 - 24 hr) timescales. We observed the pulsar continuously over 24 hr with the Arecibo, Effelsberg, GMRT, Green Bank, LOFAR, Lovell, Nancay, Parkes, and WSRT radio telescopes. The combined pulse times-of-arrival presented here provide an estimate of what sources of timing noise, excluding DM variations, would be present as compared to an idealized root-N improvement in timing precision, where N is the number of pulses analyzed. In the case of this particular pulsar, we find that intrinsic pulse phase jitter dominates arrival time precision when the S/N of single pulses exceeds unity, as measured using the eight telescopes that observed at L-band/1.4 GHz. We present first results of specific phenomena probed on the unusually long timescale (for a single continuous observing session) of tens of hours, in particular interstellar scintillation, and discuss the degree to which scintillation and profile evolution affect precision timing. This paper presents the data set as a basis for future, deeper studies.
    08/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: We use MERLIN, VLA and VLBA observations of Galactic \HI absorption towards 3C~138 to estimate the structure function of the \HI opacity fluctuations at AU scales. Using Monte Carlo simulations, we show that there is likely to be a significant bias in the estimated structure function at signal-to-noise ratios characteristic of our observations, if the structure function is constructed in the manner most commonly used in the literature. We develop a new estimator that is free from this bias and use it to estimate the true underlying structure function slope on length scales ranging $5$ to $40$~AU. From a power law fit to the structure function, we derive a slope of $0.81^{+0.14}_{-0.13}$, i.e. similar to the value observed at parsec scales. The estimated upper limit for the amplitude of the structure function is also consistent with the measurements carried out at parsec scales. Our measurements are hence consistent with the \HI opacity fluctuation in the Galaxy being characterized by a power law structure function over length scales that span six orders of magnitude. This result implies that the dissipation scale has to be smaller than a few AU if the fluctuations are produced by turbulence. This inferred smaller dissipation scale implies that the dissipation occurs either in (i) regions with densities $\gtrsim 10^3 $cm$^-3$ (i.e. similar to that inferred for "tiny scale" atomic clouds or (ii) regions with a mix of ionized and atomic gas (i.e. the observed structure in the atomic gas has a magneto-hydrodynamic origin).
    05/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: We use MERLIN, VLA and VLBA observations of Galactic \HI absorption towards 3C~138 to estimate the structure function of the \HI opacity fluctuations at AU scales. Using Monte Carlo simulations, we show that there is likely to be a significant bias in the estimated structure function at signal-to-noise ratios characteristic of our observations, if the structure function is constructed in the manner most commonly used in the literature. We develop a new estimator that is free from this bias and use it to estimate the true underlying structure function slope on length scales ranging $5$ to $40$~AU. From a power law fit to the structure function, we derive a slope of $0.81^{+0.14}_{-0.13}$, i.e. similar to the value observed at parsec scales. The estimated upper limit for the amplitude of the structure function is also consistent with the measurements carried out at parsec scales. Our measurements are hence consistent with the \HI opacity fluctuation in the Galaxy being characterized by a power law structure function over length scales that span six orders of magnitude. This result implies that the dissipation scale has to be smaller than a few AU if the fluctuations are produced by turbulence. This inferred smaller dissipation scale implies that the dissipation occurs either in (i) regions with densities $\gtrsim 10^3 $cm$^-3$ (i.e. similar to that inferred for "tiny scale" atomic clouds or (ii) regions with a mix of ionized and atomic gas (i.e. the observed structure in the atomic gas has a magneto-hydrodynamic origin).
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 04/2014; 442(1). · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present the results of a recent re-reduction of the data from the Very Large Array (VLA) Low-frequency Sky Survey (VLSS). We used the VLSS catalogue as a sky model to correct the ionospheric distortions in the data and create a new set of sky maps and corresponding catalogue at 73.8 MHz. The VLSS Redux (VLSSr) has a resolution of 75 arcsec, and an average map rms noise level of σ ̃ 0.1 Jy beam-1. The clean bias is 0.66 × σ and the theoretical largest angular size is 36 arcmin. Six previously unimaged fields are included in the VLSSr, which has an unbroken sky coverage over 9.3 sr above an irregular southern boundary. The final catalogue includes 92 964 sources. The VLSSr improves upon the original VLSS in a number of areas including imaging of large sources, image sensitivity, and clean bias; however the most critical improvement is the replacement of an inaccurate primary beam correction which caused source flux errors which vary as a function of radius to nearest pointing centre in the VLSS.
    04/2014; 440(1).
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    ABSTRACT: The North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves (NANOGrav) project currently observes 43 pulsars using the Green Bank and Arecibo radio telescopes. In this work we use a subset of 17 pulsars timed for a span of roughly five years (2005--2010). We analyze these data using standard pulsar timing models, with the addition of time-variable dispersion measure and frequency-variable pulse shape terms. Within the timing data, we perform a search for continuous gravitational waves from individual supermassive black hole binaries in circular orbits using robust frequentist and Bayesian techniques. We find that there is no evidence for the presence of a detectable continuous gravitational wave; however, we can use these data to place the most constraining upper limits to date on the strength of such gravitational waves. Using the full 17 pulsar dataset we place a 95% upper limit on the sky-averaged strain amplitude of $h_0\lesssim 3.8\times 10^{-14}$ at a frequency of 10 nHz. Furthermore, we place 95% \emph{all sky} lower limits on the luminosity distance to such gravitational wave sources finding that the $d_L \gtrsim 425$ Mpc for sources at a frequency of 10 nHz and chirp mass $10^{10}{\rm M}_{\odot}$. We find that for gravitational wave sources near our best timed pulsars in the sky, the sensitivity of the pulsar timing array is increased by a factor of $\sim$4 over the sky-averaged sensitivity. Finally we place limits on the coalescence rate of the most massive supermassive black hole binaries.
    04/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: We present the Chasing the Identification of ASCA Galactic Objects (ChIcAGO) survey, which is designed to identify the unknown X-ray sources discovered during the ASCA Galactic Plane Survey (AGPS). Little is known about most of the AGPS sources, especially those that emit primarily in hard X-rays (2-10 keV) within the F_x ~ 10^-13 to 10^-11 erg cm^-2 s^-1 X-ray flux range. In ChIcAGO, the subarcsecond localization capabilities of Chandra have been combined with a detailed multi-wavelength follow-up program, with the ultimate goal of classifying the >100 unidentified sources in the AGPS. Overall to date, 93 unidentified AGPS sources have been observed with Chandra as part of the ChIcAGO survey. A total of 253 X-ray point sources have been detected in these Chandra observations within 3' of the original ASCA positions. We have identified infrared and optical counterparts to the majority of these sources, using both new observations and catalogs from existing Galactic plane surveys. X-ray and infrared population statistics for the X-ray point sources detected in the Chandra observations reveal that the primary populations of Galactic plane X-ray sources that emit in the F_x ~ 10^-13 to 10^-11 erg cm^-2 s^-1 flux range are active stellar coronae, massive stars with strong stellar winds that are possibly in colliding-wind binaries, X-ray binaries, and magnetars. There is also a fifth population that is still unidentified but, based on its X-ray and infrared properties, likely comprise partly of Galactic sources and partly of active galactic nuclei.
    The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series 03/2014; 212(1). · 16.24 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This whitepaper describes how the VLASS could be designed in a manner to allow the identification of candidate dual active galactic nuclei (AGN) at separations <7 kpc. Dual AGN represent a clear marker of two supermassive black holes within an ongoing merger. A dual AGN survey will provide a wealth of studies in structure growth and gravitational-wave science. Radio wavelengths are ideal for identifying close pairs, as disturbed stellar and gaseous material can obscure their presence in optical and shorter wavelengths. With sufficiently high resolution and sensitivity, a large-scale radio imaging survey like the VLASS will uncover many of these systems and provide the means to broadly study the radio properties of candidate dual systems revealed at other wavelengths. We determine that the ideal survey for our purposes will be at as high a resolution as possible, with significantly more science return in A array at L-band or higher, or B array at C-band or higher. We describe a range of potential survey parameters within this document. Based on the analysis outlined in this whitepaper, our ideal survey would create a catalogue of $\gtrsim$100 dual AGN in either: 1) a medium-sensitivity (~1 mJy detection threshold), wide-field (few thousand square degree) survey, or 2) a high-sensitivity (~10 uJy threshold) survey of several hundred square degrees.
    02/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: [1] A new capability for high-sensitivity, all-sky monitoring of VHF meteor-trail reflections with the first station of the Long Wavelength Array, or “LWA1,” is described. LWA1 is a ∼ 100m-diameter HF/VHF array of 256 crossed-dipole antennas with a unique transient buffer mode that allows it to monitor for meteor trails via all-sky imaging with the same sensitivity as a single-dish antenna m in diameter. To demonstrate this capability, we have used a two-hour observing run conducted in August 2012 aimed at detecting and characterizing meteor-trail reflections of analog TV transmissions at 55.25 MHz. The analysis techniques described here allowed for a detection rate of ∼9,500 trails per hour, including the detection of two meteor streams with radiants in the Aries/Perseus and Aquila/Hercules regions that were not previously reported in the literature. In addition, we have found a population of relatively long-duration (∼ 1 to a few minutes), typically fainttrails. These trails have implied horizontal speeds of 15–130 m s− 1, with a typical speed of ∼30 m s− 1. We have also used high-resolution time series of the brightest trails to characterize decay times over a relatively large geographical area (10∘ × 7∘ in longitude and latitude) and on short (∼5 minutes) time scales. Potential enhancements that could be enabled by the addition of more LWA stations are discussed.
    Radio Science. 02/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: A community meeting on the topic of "Radio Astronomy in the LSST Era" was hosted by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Charlottesville, VA (2013 May 6--8). The focus of the workshop was on time domain radio astronomy and sky surveys. For the time domain, the extent to which radio and visible wavelength observations are required to understand several classes of transients was stressed, but there are also classes of radio transients for which no visible wavelength counterpart is yet known, providing an opportunity for discovery. From the LSST perspective, the LSST is expected to generate as many as 1 million alerts nightly, which will require even more selective specification and identification of the classes and characteristics of transients that can warrant follow up, at radio or any wavelength. The LSST will also conduct a deep survey of the sky, producing a catalog expected to contain over 38 billion objects in it. Deep radio wavelength sky surveys will also be conducted on a comparable time scale, and radio and visible wavelength observations are part of the multi-wavelength approach needed to classify and understand these objects. Radio wavelengths are valuable because they are unaffected by dust obscuration and, for galaxies, contain contributions both from star formation and from active galactic nuclei. The workshop touched on several other topics, on which there was consensus including the placement of other LSST "Deep Drilling Fields," inter-operability of software tools, and the challenge of filtering and exploiting the LSST data stream. There were also topics for which there was insufficient time for full discussion or for which no consensus was reached, which included the procedures for following up on LSST observations and the nature for future support of researchers desiring to use LSST data products.
    01/2014; 126.
  • T. J. W. Lazio
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    ABSTRACT: The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) is envisioned as the meter- and centimeter-wavelength telescope of the 21st century, and gravitational wave studies via a pulsar timing array (PTA) form a key aspect of its science program. In its ultimate implementation, the SKA (phase 2) should enable the construction of a PTA consisting of as many as 100 spin-stable millisecond pulsars. The sensitivity of the SKA–PTA could approach gravitational wave strain amplitudes of 6 × 10‑16 or better at fiducial gravitational wave frequencies of order 1 yr‑1, at least an order of magnitude improvement in the gravitational wave strain amplitude that can be measured. Any nearby individual supermassive black hole binaries could be detected, and the existence of non-tensor modes can be tested. Beyond its PTA capabilities, the SKA will also enable a range of other tests of fundamental physics, such as tests of gravity in ultra-relativistic binaries and constraints on the nuclear equation of state.
    Classical and Quantum Gravity 11/2013; 30(22):4011-. · 3.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present flux density measurements and pulse profiles for the millisecond pulsar PSR J2145-0750 spanning 37 to 81 MHz using data obtained from the first station of the Long Wavelength Array. These measurements represent the lowest frequency detection of pulsed emission from a millisecond pulsar to date. We find that the pulse profile is similar to that observed at 102 MHz. We also find that the flux density spectrum between ~40 MHz to 5 GHz is suggestive of a break and may be better fit by a model that includes spectral curvature with a rollover around 730 MHz rather than a single power law.
    The Astrophysical Journal Letters 09/2013; 775(1). · 6.35 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A close look at the geology of the Schrödinger basin for mission opportunities.
    LPI Contributions. 08/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: We report the detection and observed characteristics of giant pulses from the Crab Nebula pulsar (B0531+21) in four frequency bands covering 20-84 MHz using the recently-completed Long Wavelength Array Station 1 (LWA1) radio telescope. In 10 hours of observations distributed over a 72-day period in Fall of 2012, 33 giant pulses having peak flux densities between 400 Jy and 2000 Jy were detected. Twenty-two of these pulses were detected simultaneously in channels of 16 MHz bandwidth centered at 44 MHz, 60 MHz, and 76 MHz, including one pulse which was also detected in a channel centered at 28 MHz. We quantify statistics of pulse amplitude and pulse shape characteristics, including pulse broadening. Amplitude statistics are consistent with expectations based on extrapolations from previous work at higher and lower frequencies. Pulse broadening is found to be relatively high, but not significantly greater than expected. We present procedures that have been found to be effective for observing giant pulses in this frequency range.
    The Astrophysical Journal 04/2013; 768(2). · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Pulsar timing observations have revealed companions to neutron stars that include other neutron stars, white dwarfs, main-sequence stars, and planets. We demonstrate that the correlated and apparently stochastic residual times of arrival from the millisecond pulsar B1937+21 are consistent with the signature of an asteroid belt having a total mass less than approximately 0.05 Earth masses. Unlike the solar system's asteroid belt, the best fit pulsar asteroid belt extends over a wide range of radii, consistent with the absence of any shepherding companions. We suggest that any pulsar that has undergone accretion-driven spin-up and subsequently evaporated its companion may harbor orbiting asteroid mass objects. The resulting timing variations may fundamentally limit the timing precision of some of the other millisecond pulsars. Observational tests of the asteroid belt model include identifying periodicities from individual asteroids, which are difficult; testing for statistical stationarity that become possible when observations are conducted over a longer observing span; and searching for reflected radio emission.
    The Astrophysical Journal 01/2013; 766(1). · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present an update on the Jansky Very Large Array Low Band (VLA-LB) project, currently undergoing scientific commissioning and expected to be fully available in 2013. VLA-LB is a joint NRL and NRAO initiative to equip the VLA with broadband low frequency receivers that cover the spectrum between 66 and 470 MHz. The current system can already access the 66 to 86 MHz and 230 to 436 MHz sub-bands by working with existing 74 and 330 MHz feeds, respectively. The bandwidth at 74 MHz will increase by more than an order of magnitude while the 330 MHz bandwidth increases by approximately a factor of 6. The improved bandwidth and system temperature, coupled with the power of the WIDAR correlator, promise significantly enhanced performance compared to past VLA capabilities. Early commissioning results at “P band” (330 MHz) with a handful of antennas accessing the larger bandwidth indicate sensitivity rivaling that of the legacy 27-antenna, narrow-band old VLA capability. New feeds that can exploit a larger fraction of the available receiver bandwidth are being explored. While VLA-LB is useful as a conventional system, we are looking to enhance its power by leveraging the VLA’s capability to detect radiation at its prime and Cassegrain foci simultaneously. The ability to observe with more than one band in parallel is a powerful multiplier of a telescope’s function, and many instruments (e.g. the GMRT, WSRT and VLA) offer this. A variant is being explored for VLA-LB: observing from the prime focus during all normal Cassegrain observations. This proposed VLA-LB commensal system would piggyback normal VLA observing time to survey at low frequencies with relatively large field of views. Shared fields with other multi-beaming, dipole-based arrays that view the same sky with the VLA, e.g. the first station of the Long Wavelength Array (LWA1), would be possible. The collected data will be assembled into a database of spectra and wide-field images, suitable for studies of individual objects as well as searches for transients and high redshift spectral features (eg. HI absorption or OH mega-masers). We describe how the VLA-LB commensal system might be implemented, and explore early ideas for its scientific promise.
    01/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: A novel concept is presented in this paper for a human mission to the lunar L2 (Lagrange) point that would be a proving ground for future exploration missions to deep space while also overseeing scientifically important investigations. In an L2 halo orbit above the lunar farside, the astronauts aboard the Orion Crew Vehicle would travel 15% farther from Earth than did the Apollo astronauts and spend almost three times longer in deep space. Such a mission would serve as a first step beyond low Earth orbit and prove out operational spaceflight capabilities such as life support, communication, high speed re-entry, and radiation protection prior to more difficult human exploration missions. On this proposed mission, the crew would teleoperate landers and rovers on the unexplored lunar farside, which would obtain samples from the geologically interesting farside and deploy a low radio frequency telescope. Sampling the South Pole-Aitken basin, one of the oldest impact basins in the solar system, is a key science objective of the 2011 Planetary Science Decadal Survey. Observations at low radio frequencies to track the effects of the Universe's first stars/galaxies on the intergalactic medium are a priority of the 2010 Astronomy and Astrophysics Decadal Survey. Such telerobotic oversight would also demonstrate capability for human and robotic cooperation on future, more complex deep space missions such as exploring Mars.
    Advances in Space Research 11/2012; 52(2). · 1.18 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The discovery of a pulsar (PSR) in orbit around a black hole (BH) is expected to provide a superb new probe of relativistic gravity and BH properties. Apart from a precise mass measurement for the BH, one could expect a clean verification of the dragging of space-time caused by the BH spin. In order to measure the quadrupole moment of the BH for testing the no-hair theorem of general relativity (GR), one has to hope for a sufficiently massive BH. In this respect, a PSR orbiting the super-massive BH in the center of our Galaxy would be the ultimate laboratory for gravity tests with PSRs. But even for gravity theories that predict the same properties for BHs as GR, a PSR-BH system would constitute an excellent test system, due to the high grade of asymmetry in the strong field properties of these two components. Here we highlight some of the potential gravity tests that one could expect from different PSR-BH systems, utilizing present and future radio telescopes, like FAST and SKA.
    Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union 10/2012;

Publication Stats

2k Citations
737.97 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2011–2014
    • California Institute of Technology
      • Jet Propulsion Laboratory
      Pasadena, California, United States
    • The University of Manchester
      • Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics
      Manchester, England, United Kingdom
  • 2002–2013
    • University of New Mexico
      • Department of Physics & Astronomy
      Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States
  • 2012
    • The Astronomical Observatory of Brera
      Merate, Lombardy, Italy
  • 2004–2011
    • SpecTIR™ Remote Sensing Division
      Reno, Nevada, United States
    • University of Groningen
      Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands
    • Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
      • Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2009
    • United States Naval Research Laboratory
      Washington, Washington, D.C., United States
  • 2005–2009
    • National Radio Astronomy Observatory
      Charlottesville, Virginia, United States
    • United States Navy
      Monterey, California, United States
    • SETI Institute
      Mountain View, California, United States
    • University of Maryland, College Park
      • Department of Astronomy
      Maryland, United States
  • 2008
    • University of Colorado at Boulder
      Boulder, Colorado, United States
  • 2003
    • Carleton College
      • Physics and Astronomy
      Northfield, Minnesota, United States
  • 2001
    • University of South Carolina
      • Department of Physics and Astronomy
      Columbia, South Carolina, United States
  • 1999
    • The Catholic University of America
      Washington, Washington, D.C., United States
  • 1998–1999
    • Sweet Briar College
      Georgia, United States
  • 1991–1999
    • Cornell University
      • Department of Astronomy
      Ithaca, New York, United States
  • 1997
    • United States Naval Observatory
      Washington, Maine, United States
  • 1995
    • Cornell College
      Cornell, Wisconsin, United States