D. B. Zucker

Australian National University, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia

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Publications (102)386.12 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: We report the identification of extended tidal debris potentially associated with the globular cluster NGC 3201, using the RAVE catalogue. We find the debris stars are located at a distance range of 1-7 kpc based on the forthcoming RAVE distance estimates. The derived space velocities and integrals of motion show interesting connections to NGC 3201, modulo uncertainties in the proper motions. Three stars, which are among the 4 most likely candidates for NGC 3201 tidal debris, are separated by 80 degrees on the sky yet are well matched by the 12 Gyr, [Fe/H] = -1.5 isochrone appropriate for the cluster. This is the first time tidal debris around this cluster has been reported over such a large spatial extent, with implications for the cluster$'$s origin and dynamical evolution.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2016 · Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
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    ABSTRACT: The High Efficiency and Resolution Multi Element Spectrograph, HERMES, is a facility-class optical spectrograph for the Anglo-Australian Telescope (AAT). It is designed primarily for Galactic Archaeology, the first major attempt to create a detailed understanding of galaxy formation and evolution by studying the history of our own galaxy, the Milky Way. The goal of the GALAH survey is to reconstruct the mass assembly history of the Milky Way through a detailed chemical abundance study of one million stars. The spectrograph is based at the AAT and is fed by the existing 2dF robotic fiber positioning system. The spectrograph uses volume phase holographic gratings to achieve a spectral resolving power of 28,000 in standard mode and also provides a high-resolution mode ranging between 40,000 and 50,000 using a slit mask. The GALAH survey requires an SNR greater than 100 for a star brightness of V=14 in an exposure time of one hour. The total spectral coverage of the four channels is about 100 nm between 370 and 1000 nm for up to 392 simultaneous targets within the 2-degree field of view. HERMES has been commissioned over three runs, during bright time in October, November, and December 2013, in parallel with the beginning of the GALAH pilot survey, which started in November 2013. We present the first-light results from the commissioning run and the beginning of the GALAH survey, including performance results such as throughput and resolution, as well as instrument reliability.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2015
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    Colin A. Navin · Sarah L. Martell · Daniel B. Zucker
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    ABSTRACT: NGC 1851 is an intriguing Galactic globular cluster, with multiple stellar evolutionary sequences, light and heavy element abundance variations and indications of a surrounding stellar halo. We present the first results of a spectroscopic study of red giant stars within and outside of the tidal radius of this cluster. Our results identify nine probable new cluster members (inside the tidal radius) with heliocentric radial velocities consistent with that of NGC 1851. We also identify, based on their radial velocities, four probable extratidal cluster halo stars at distances up to ∼3.1 times the tidal radius, which are supportive of previous findings that NGC 1851 is surrounded by an extended stellar halo. Proper motions were available for 12 of these 13 stars and all are consistent with that of NGC 1851. Apart from the cluster members and cluster halo stars, our observed radial velocity distribution agrees with the expected distribution from a Besançon disc/N-body stellar halo Milky Way model generated by the galaxia code, suggesting that no other structures at different radial velocities are present in our field. The metallicities of these stars are estimated using equivalent width measurements of the near-infrared calcium triplet absorption lines and are found, within the limitations of this method, to be consistent with that of NGC 1851. In addition we recover 110 red giant cluster members from previous studies based on their radial velocities and identify three stars with unusually high radial velocities.
    Preview · Article · Jul 2015 · Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
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    ABSTRACT: Wrapping around the Milky Way, the Sagittarius stream is the dominant substructure in the halo. Our statistical selection method has allowed us to identify 106 highly likely members of the Sagittarius stream. Spectroscopic analysis of metallicity and kinematics of all members provides us with a new mapping of the Sagittarius stream. We find correspondence between the velocity distribution of stream stars and those computed for a triaxial model of the Milky Way dark matter halo. The Sagittarius trailing arm exhibits a metallicity gradient, ranging from $-0.59$ dex to $-0.97$ dex over 142$^{\circ}$. This is consistent with the scenario of tidal disruption from a progenitor dwarf galaxy that possessed an internal metallicity gradient. We note high metallicity dispersion in the leading arm, causing a lack of detectable gradient and possibly indicating orbital phase mixing. We additionally report on a potential detection of the Sextans dwarf spheroidal in our data.
    Full-text · Article · May 2015 · The Astrophysical Journal
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    ABSTRACT: We present the identification of potential members of nearby Galactic globular clusters using radial velocities from the RAdial Velocity Experiment Data Release 4 (RAVE-DR4) survey database. Our identifications are based on three globular clusters -- NGC 3201, NGC 5139 ($\omega$ Cen) and NGC 362 -- all of which are shown to have |RV|>100 km/s. The identification of globular cluster stars in RAVE DR4 data offers a unique opportunity to test the precision and accuracy of the stellar parameters determined with the currently available Stellar Parameter Pipelines (SPPs) used in the survey, as globular clusters are ideal testbeds for the validation of stellar atmospheric parameters, abundances, distances and ages. For both NGC 3201 and $\omega$ Cen, there is compelling evidence for numerous members (> 10) in the RAVE database; in the case of NGC 362 the evidence is more ambiguous, and there may be significant foreground and/or background contamination in our kinematically-selected sample. A comparison of the RAVE-derived stellar parameters and abundances with published values for each cluster and with BASTI isochrones for ages and metallicities from the literature reveals overall good agreement, with the exception of the apparent underestimation of surface gravities for giants, in particular for the most metal-poor stars. Moreover, if the selected members are part of the main body of each cluster our results would also suggest that the distances from Binney et al. 2013, where only isochrones more metal-rich than -0.9 dex were used, are typically underestimated by ~ 40% with respect to the published distances for the clusters, while the distances from Zwitter et al. 2010 show stars ranging from 1 to ~ 6.5 kpc -- with indications of a trend toward higher distances at lower metallicities -- for the three clusters analysed in this study.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2015 · Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
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    ABSTRACT: The Galactic Archaeology with HERMES (GALAH) survey is a large high-resolution spectroscopic survey using the newly commissioned High Efficiency and Resolution Multi-Element Spectrograph (HERMES) on the Anglo-Australian Telescope. The HERMES spectrograph provides high-resolution (R ∼ 28 000) spectra in four passbands for 392 stars simultaneously over a 2 deg field of view. The goal of the survey is to unravel the formation and evolutionary history of the Milky Way, using fossil remnants of ancient star formation events which have been disrupted and are now dispersed throughout the Galaxy. Chemical tagging seeks to identify such dispersed remnants solely from their common and unique chemical signatures; these groups are unidentifiable from their spatial, photometric or kinematic properties. To carry out chemical tagging, the GALAH survey will acquire spectra for a million stars down to V ∼ 14. The HERMES spectra of FGK stars contain absorption lines from 29 elements including light proton-capture elements, α-elements, odd-Z elements, iron-peak elements and n-capture elements from the light and heavy s-process and the r-process. This paper describes the motivation and planned execution of the GALAH survey, and presents some results on the first-light performance of HERMES.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2015 · Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
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    ABSTRACT: We show that a combination of infrared photometry from WISE and 2MASS surveys can yield highly pure samples of M giant stars. We take advantage of the new WISE$\cap$2MASS M giant selection to trace the Sagittarius trailing tail behind the Galactic disk in the direction of the anti-centre. The M giant candidates selected via broad-band photometry are confirmed spectroscopically using AAOmega on the AAT in 3 fields around the extremity of the Sgr trailing tail in the Southern Galactic hemisphere. We demonstrate that at the Sgr longitude $\tilde \Lambda_{\odot} = 204^{\circ}$, the line-of-sight velocity of the trailing tail starts to deviate from the track of the Law & Majewski (2010) model, confirming the prediction of Belokurov et al. (2014). This discovery serves to substantiate the measurement of low differential orbital precession of the Sgr stream which in turn may imply diminished dark matter content within 100 kpc.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2014 · Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
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    ABSTRACT: The High Efficiency and Resolution Multi Element Spectrograph, HERMES is an facility-class optical spectrograph for the AAT. It is designed primarily for Galactic Archeology [21], the first major attempt to create a detailed understanding of galaxy formation and evolution by studying the history of our own galaxy, the Milky Way. The goal of the GALAH survey is to reconstruct the mass assembly history of the of the Milky Way, through a detailed spatially tagged abundance study of one million stars. The spectrograph is based at the Anglo Australian Telescope (AAT) and is fed by the existing 2dF robotic fiber positioning system. The spectrograph uses VPH-gratings to achieve a spectral resolving power of 28,000 in standard mode and also provides a high-resolution mode ranging between 40,000 to 50,000 using a slit mask. The GALAH survey requires a SNR greater than 100 for a star brightness of V=14. The total spectral coverage of the four channels is about 100nm between 370 and 1000nm for up to 392 simultaneous targets within the 2 degree field of view. Hermes has been commissioned over 3 runs, during bright time in October, November and December 2013, in parallel with the beginning of the GALAH Pilot survey starting in November 2013. In this paper we present the first-light results from the commissioning run and the beginning of the GALAH Survey, including performance results such as throughput and resolution, as well as instrument reliability. We compare the abundance calculations from the pilot survey to those in the literature.
    No preview · Conference Paper · Jul 2014
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    ABSTRACT: We have developed a method to identify planetary nebula (PN) candidates in imaging data of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS). This method exploits the SDSS's five-band sampling of emission lines in PN spectra, which results in a color signature distinct from that of other sources. Selection criteria based on this signature can be applied to nearby galaxies in which PNe appear as point sources. We applied these criteria to the whole area of M31 as scanned by the SDSS, selecting 167 PN candidates that are located in the outer regions of M31. The spectra of 80 selected candidates were then observed with the 2.2 m telescope at Calar Alto Observatory. These observations and cross-checks with literature data show that our method has a selection rate efficiency of about 90%, but the efficiency is different for the different groups of PN candidates. In the outer regions of M31, PNe trace different well-known morphological features like the Northern Spur, the NGC 205 Loop, the G1 Clump, etc. In general, the distribution of PNe in the outer region 8 < R < 20 kpc along the minor axis shows the "extended disk"—a rotationally supported low surface brightness structure with an exponential scale length of 3.21 ± 0.14 kpc and a total mass of ~1010M ☉, which is equivalent to the mass of M33. We report the discovery of three PN candidates with projected locations in the center of Andromeda NE, a very low surface brightness giant stellar structure in the outer halo of M31. Two of the PNe were spectroscopically confirmed as genuine PNe. These two PNe are located at projected distances along the major axis of ~48 Kpc and ~41 Kpc from the center of M31 and are the most distant PNe in M31 found up to now. With the new PN data at hand we see the obvious kinematic connection between the continuation of the Giant Stream and the Northern Spur. We suggest that 20%-30% of the stars in the Northern Spur area may belong to the Giant Stream. In our data we also see a possible kinematic connection between the Giant Stream and PNe in Andromeda NE, suggesting that Andromeda NE could be the core or remnant of the Giant Stream. Using PN data we estimate the total mass of the Giant Stream progenitor to be ≈109M ☉. About 90% of its stars appear to have been lost during the interaction with M31.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2014 · The Astronomical Journal
  • B. Anguiano · G. De Silva · D. Zucker

    No preview · Article · Jan 2014 · EAS Publications Series
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    ABSTRACT: HERMES is a new high-resolution multi-object spectrograph on the Anglo Australian Telescope. The primary science driver for HERMES is the GALAH survey, GALactic Archaeology with HERMES. We are planning a spectroscopic survey of about a million stars, aimed at using chemical tagging techniques to reconstruct the star-forming aggregates that built up the disk, the bulge and halo of the Galaxy. This project will benefit greatly from the stellar distances and transverse motions from the Gaia mission.
    Preview · Article · Dec 2013 · Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union
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    ABSTRACT: The early science results from the new generation of high-resolution stellar spectroscopic surveys, such as GALAH and the Gaia-ESO survey, will represent major milestones in the quest to chemically tag the Galaxy. Yet this technique to reconstruct dispersed coeval stellar groups has remained largely untested until recently. We build on previous work that developed an empirical chemical tagging probability function, which describes the likelihood that two field stars are conatal, that is, they were formed in the same cluster environment. In this work we perform the first ever blind chemical tagging experiment, i.e., tagging stars with no known or otherwise discernable associations, on a sample of 714 disc field stars with a number of high quality high resolution homogeneous metal abundance measurements. We present evidence that chemical tagging of field stars does identify coeval groups of stars, yet these groups may not represent distinct formation sites, e.g. as in dissolved open clusters, as previously thought. Our results point to several important conclusions, among them that group finding will be limited strictly to chemical abundance space, e.g. stellar ages, kinematics, colors, temperature and surface gravity do not enhance the detectability of groups. We also demonstrate that in addition to its role in probing the chemical enrichment and kinematic history of the Galactic disc, chemical tagging represents a powerful new stellar age determination technique.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2013 · Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
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    ABSTRACT: We report the discovery of a new faint dwarf galaxy, GHOSTS I, using HST/ACS data from one of our GHOSTS (Galaxy Halos, Outer disks, Substructure, Thick disk, and Star clusters) fields. Its detected individual stars populate an approximately one magnitude range of its luminosity function (LF). Using synthetic color-magnitude diagrams (CMDs) to compare with the galaxy's CMD, we find that the colors and magnitudes of GHOSTS I's individual stars are most consistent with being young helium-burning and asymptotic giant branch stars at a distance of 12 +/- 2 Mpc. Morphologically, GHOSTS I appears to be actively forming stars, so we tentatively classify it as a dwarf irregular (dIrr) galaxy, although future HST observations deep enough to resolve a larger magnitude range in its LF are required to make a more secure classification. GHOSTS I's absolute magnitude is $M_V = -9.85^{+ 0.40}_{- 0.33}$, making it one of the least luminous dIrr galaxies known, and its metallicity is lower than [Fe/H] =-1.5 dex. The half-light radius of GHOSTS I is 226 +/- 38 pc and its ellipticity is 0.47 +/- 0.07, similar to Milky Way and M31 dwarf satellites at comparable luminosity. There are no luminous massive galaxies or galaxy clusters within ~ 4 Mpc from GHOSTS I that could be considered as its host, making it a very isolated dwarf galaxy in the Local Universe.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2013 · The Astrophysical Journal
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    ABSTRACT: We have developed a method to identify planetary nebula (PN) candidates in imaging data of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS). This method exploits the SDSS' five-band sampling of emission lines in PN spectra, which results in a color signature distinct from that of other sources. Selection criteria based on this signature can be applied to nearby galaxies in which PNe appear as point sources. We applied these criteria to the whole area of M31 as scanned by the SDSS, selecting 167 PN candidates that are located in the outer regions of M31. The spectra of 80 selected candidates were then observed with the 2.2m telescope at Calar Alto Observatory. These observations and cross-checks with literature data show that our method has a selection rate efficiency of about 90%, but the efficiency is different for the different groups of PNe candidates. In the outer regions of M31, PNe trace different well-known morphological features like the Northern Spur, the NGC205 Loop, the G1 Clump, etc. In general, the distribution of PNe in the outer region 8<R<20 kpc along the minor axis shows the "extended disk" - a rotationally supported low surface brightness structure with an exponential scale length of 3.21+/-0.14 kpc and a total mass of ~10^10 M_{\sun}, which is equivalent to the mass of M33. We report the discovery of three PN candidates with projected locations in the center of Andromeda NE, a very low surface brightness giant stellar structure in the outer halo of M31. Two of the PNe were spectroscopically confirmed as genuine PNe. These two PNe are located at projected distances along the major axis of ~48 Kpc and ~41 Kpc from the center of M31 and are the most distant PNe in M31 found up to now.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2013
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    ABSTRACT: Galactic satellite galaxies provide a unique opportunity to map the history of early star formation and chemical evolution, the baryonic feedback on gas and dark matter, and the structure of low-mass dark matter halos, in surviving examples of the first galaxies. We are using VLT-FLAMES spectroscopy to map the kinematics and chemical abundances of stars in several ultra-faint dwarf spheroidal galaxies and the enigmatic Orphan Stream in the Halo. Two paths of early chemical enrichment at very low iron abundance are observed directly: one rapid and carbon-rich (CEMP-no), one slow and carbon-normal. We deduce long-lived, low-rate star formation in Boötes-I, implying insignificant dynamical feedback on the structure of its dark matter halo, and find remarkably similar kinematics in the apparently discrete systems Segue 1 and the Orphan Stream.
    No preview · Article · Mar 2013
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    ABSTRACT: We undertake an investigation into the spatial structure of the M31 satellite system utilizing the distance distributions presented in a previous publication. These distances make use of the unique combination of depth and spatial coverage of the Pan-Andromeda Archaeological Survey (PAndAS) to provide a large, homogeneous sample consisting of 27 of M31's satellites, as well as M31 itself. We find that the satellite distribution, when viewed as a whole, is no more planar than one would expect from a random distribution of equal size. A disk consisting of 15 of the satellites is however found to be highly significant, and strikingly thin, with a root-mean-square thickness of just $12.34^{+0.75}_{-0.43}$ kpc. This disk is oriented approximately edge on with respect to the Milky Way and almost perpendicular to the Milky Way disk. It is also roughly orthogonal to the disk like structure regularly reported for the Milky Way satellite system and in close alignment with M31's Giant Stellar Stream. A similar analysis of the asymmetry of the M31 satellite distribution finds that it is also significantly larger than one would expect from a random distribution. In particular, it is remarkable that 20 of the 27 satellites most likely lie on the Milky Way side of the galaxy, with the asymmetry being most pronounced within the satellite subset forming the aforementioned disk. This lopsidedness is all the more intriguing in light of the apparent orthogonality observed between the satellite disk structures of the Milky Way and M31.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2013 · The Astrophysical Journal
  • A. W. Mitschang · G. M. de Silva · D. B. Zucker
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    ABSTRACT: Observations were carried out using the Fibre Large Array Multi Element Spectrograph (FLAMES) multi-object fibre system feeding the Ultraviolet and Visual Echelle Spectrograph (UVES; R~45000) at the Very Large Telescope (VLT) as a part of service programme 072.B-0331B over nine nights in 2004. (2 data files).
    No preview · Article · Jan 2013
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    ABSTRACT: Wrapping around the Milky Way, the Sagittarius (Sgr) stream is the most dominant substructure in the halo. Its progenitor, the Sgr dwarf galaxy, has been assumed to be a non-rotating, pressure-supported dwarf spheroidal galaxy. However, to date, no such model for the interaction of Sgr with the Milky Way has been able to reproduce all of the observational features of the stream. We have obtained spectra of over 21,000 stars in the stream and the core of Sgr, providing the most comprehensive spectral observations ever taken for this system. Our analysis demonstrates that Sgr is unlikely to have originated as a disk galaxy. Using careful selection criteria, we have identified several hundred likely members of the Sgr stream. From the most probable members identified, we characterize the chemical and dynamical nature and, through comparison to theory, provide a new mapping of this extended system of Sgr stars.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2013
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    A. W. Mitschang · G. De Silva · S. Sharma · D. B. Zucker
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    ABSTRACT: The first generation of large-scale chemical tagging surveys, in particular the HERMES/GALAH million star survey, promises to vastly expand our understanding of the chemical and dynamical evolution of the Galaxy. This, however, is contingent on our ability to confidently perform chemical tagging on such a large data-set. Chemical homogeneity has been observed across a range of elements within several Galactic open clusters, yet the level to which this is the case globally, and particularly in comparison to the scatter across clusters themselves, is not well understood. The patterns of elements in coeval cluster members, occupying a complex chemical abundance space, are rooted in the evolution, ultimately the nature of the very late stages, of early generations of stars. The current astrophysical models of such stages are not yet sufficient to explain all observations, combining with our significant gaps in the understanding of star formation, makes this a difficult arena to tackle theoretically. Here, we describe a robust pair-wise metric used to gauge the chemical difference between two stellar components. This metric is then applied to a database of high-resolution literature abundance sources to derive a function describing the probability that two stars are of common evolutionary origin. With this cluster probability function, it will be possible to report a confidence, grounded in empirical observational evidence, with which clusters are detected, independent of the group finding methods. This formulation is also used to probe the role of chemical dimensionality, and that of individual chemical species, on the ability of chemical tagging to differentiate coeval groups of stars.
    Preview · Article · Oct 2012 · Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
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    ABSTRACT: In `A Bayesian Approach to Locating the Red Giant Branch Tip Magnitude (PART I),' a new technique was introduced for obtaining distances using the TRGB standard candle. Here we describe a useful complement to the technique with the potential to further reduce the uncertainty in our distance measurements by incorporating a matched-filter weighting scheme into the model likelihood calculations. In this scheme, stars are weighted according to their probability of being true object members. We then re-test our modified algorithm using random-realization artificial data to verify the validity of the generated posterior probability distributions (PPDs) and proceed to apply the algorithm to the satellite system of M31, culminating in a 3D view of the system. Further to the distributions thus obtained, we apply a satellite-specific prior on the satellite distances to weight the resulting distance posterior distributions, based on the halo density profile. Thus in a single publication, using a single method, a comprehensive coverage of the distances to the companion galaxies of M31 is presented, encompassing the dwarf spheroidals Andromedas I - III, V, IX-XXVII and XXX along with NGC147, NGC 185, M33 and M31 itself. Of these, the distances to Andromeda XXIV - XXVII and Andromeda XXX have never before been derived using the TRGB. Object distances are determined from high-resolution tip magnitude posterior distributions generated using the Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) technique and associated sampling of these distributions to take into account uncertainties in foreground extinction and the absolute magnitude of the TRGB as well as photometric errors. The distance PPDs obtained for each object both with, and without the aforementioned prior are made available to the reader in tabular form...
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2012 · The Astrophysical Journal

Publication Stats

8k Citations
386.12 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2015
    • Australian National University
      • Research School of Astronomy & Astrophysics
      Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
  • 2002-2015
    • Macquarie University
      • Department of Physics and Astronomy
      Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  • 2012
    • University of Sydney
      • School of Physics
      Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  • 2006-2010
    • University of Cambridge
      • Institute of Astronomy
      Cambridge, England, United Kingdom
  • 2005-2008
    • Max Planck Institute for Astronomy
      Heidelburg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
  • 1999
    • University of Washington Seattle
      Seattle, Washington, United States