John E. Gizis

University of Delaware, Ньюарк, Delaware, United States

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Publications (181)549.08 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Observations of Neptune with the Kepler Space Telescope yield a 49-day light curve with 98% coverage at a 1-minute cadence. A significant signature in the light curve comes from discrete cloud features. We compare results extracted from the light curve data with contemporaneous disk-resolved imaging of Neptune from the Keck 10-meter telescope at 1.65 microns and Hubble Space Telescope visible imaging acquired 9 months later. This direct comparison validates the feature latitudes assigned to the K2 light curve periods based on Neptune's zonal wind profile, and confirms observed cloud feature variability. Although Neptune's clouds vary in location and intensity on short and long time scales, a single large discrete storm seen in Keck imaging dominates the K2 and Hubble light curves; smaller or fainter clouds likely contribute to short-term brightness variability. The K2 Neptune light curve, in conjunction with our imaging data, provides context for the interpretation of current and future brown dwarf and extrasolar planet variability measurements. In particular we suggest that the balance between large, relatively stable, atmospheric features and smaller, more transient, clouds controls the character of substellar atmospheric variability. Atmospheres dominated by a few large spots may show inherently greater light curve stability than those which exhibit a greater number of smaller features.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2015 · The Astrophysical Journal
  • Philip J. Castro · John E. Gizis
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    ABSTRACT: We present the discovery of a young L dwarf, WISE J231921.92+764544.4, identified by comparing the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) All-Sky Catalog to the Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS). A medium-resolution optical spectrum provides a spectral type of L4$\beta$, with a photometric distance estimate of 26.1$\pm$4.4 pc. The red WISE $W1-W2$ color provides additional evidence of youth, while the 2MASS $J-K_{\rm s}$ color does not. WISE J231921.92+764544.4 is a candidate member of the young moving group Argus, with the space motion and position of WISE J231921.92+764544.4 giving a probability of 79% membership in Argus and a probability of 21% as a field object, based on BANYAN II. WISE J231921.92+764544.4 has a mass of 12.1$\pm$0.4 M$_{\rm Jup}$ based on membership in Argus, within the planetary mass regime.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · The Astrophysical Journal
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    John E. Gizis · Zachary Marks · Peter H. Hauschildt
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    ABSTRACT: We investigate the frequency of high carbon-to-oxygen (C/O $= 0.9$) M dwarf stars in the solar neighbourhood. Using synthetic spectra, we find that such M dwarfs would have weaker TiO bands relative to hydride features. Similar weakening has already been detected in M-subdwarf (sdM) stars. By comparing to existing spectroscopic surveys of nearby stars, we show that less than one percent of nearby stars have high carbon-to-oxygen ratios. This limit does not include stars with C/O$=0.9$, [m/H]$>0.3$, and [C/Fe]$>0.1$, which we predict to have low-resolution optical spectra similar to solar metallicity M dwarfs.
    Preview · Article · Oct 2015 · Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
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    ABSTRACT: We present Kepler, Spitzer Space Telescope, Gemini-North, MMT, and Kitt Peak observations of the L1 dwarf WISEP J190648.47+401106.8. We find that the Kepler optical light curve is consistent in phase and amplitude over the nearly two years of monitoring with a peak-to-peak amplitude of 1.4%. Spitzer Infrared Array Camera 3.6 micron observations are in phase with Kepler with similar light curve shape and peak-to-peak amplitude 1.1%, but at 4.5 micron, the variability has amplitude $<$0.1%. Chromospheric H$\alpha$ emission is variable but not synced with the stable Kepler light curve. A single dark spot can reproduce the light curve but is not a unique solution. An inhomogeneous cloud deck, specifically a region of thick cloud cover, can explain the multi-wavelength data of this ultracool dwarf and need not be coupled with the asynchronous magnetic emission variations. The long life of the cloud is in contrast with weather changes seen in cooler brown dwarfs on the timescale of hours and days.
    Preview · Article · Sep 2015 · The Astrophysical Journal
  • John E. Gizis · Adam J. Burgasser · Frederick J. Vrba
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    ABSTRACT: We present new spectroscopy and astrometry to characterize the nearby brown dwarf WISEP J180026.60+013453.1. The optical spectral type, L7.5, is in agreement with the previously reported near-infrared spectral type. The preliminary trigonometric parallax places it at a distance of $8.01 \pm 0.21$ pc, confirming that it is the fourth closest known late-L (L7-L9) dwarf. The measured luminosity, our detection of lithium, and the lack of low surface gravity indicators indicates that WISEP J180026.60+013453.1 has a mass $0.03 < M < 0.06 M_\odot$ and an age between 300 million and 1.5 billion years according to theoretical substellar evolution models. The low space motion is consistent with this young age. We have measured the rotational broadening ($v \sin i = 13.5 \pm 0.5$ km/s), and use it to estimate a maximum rotation period of 9.3 hr.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2015 · The Astronomical Journal
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    ABSTRACT: [Abbreviated] We present the results of a near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopic follow-up survey of 182 M4-L7 low-mass stars and brown dwarfs (BDs) from the BANYAN All-Sky Survey (BASS) for candidate members of nearby, young moving groups (YMGs). We confirm signs of low-gravity for 42 new BD discoveries with estimated masses between 8-75 $M_{Jup}$ and identify previously unrecognized signs of low gravity for 24 known BDs. This allows us to refine the fraction of low-gravity dwarfs in the high-probability BASS sample to $\sim$82%. We use this unique sample of 66 young BDs, supplemented with 22 young BDs from the literature, to construct new empirical NIR absolute magnitude and color sequences for low-gravity BDs. We obtain a spectroscopic confirmation of low-gravity for 2MASS J14252798-3650229, which is a new $\sim$27 $M_{Jup}$, L4 $\gamma$ bona fide member of AB Doradus. We identify a total of 19 new low-gravity candidate members of YMGs with estimated masses below 13 $M_{Jup}$, seven of which have kinematically estimated distances within 40 pc. These objects will be valuable benchmarks for a detailed atmospheric characterization of planetary-mass objects with the next generation of instruments. We find 16 strong candidate members of the Tucana-Horologium association with estimated masses between 12.5-14 $M_{Jup}$, a regime where our study was particularly sensitive. This would indicate that for this association there is at least one isolated object in this mass range for every $17.5_{-5.0}^{+6.6}$ main-sequence stellar member, a number significantly higher than expected based on standard log-normal initial mass function, however in the absence of radial velocity and parallax measurements for all of them, it is likely that this over-density is caused by a number of young interlopers from other moving groups. We identify 12 new L0-L5 field BDs, seven of which display peculiar properties.
    Preview · Article · Jun 2015 · The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series
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    ABSTRACT: We describe in this work the BASS survey for brown dwarfs in young moving groups of the solar neighborhood, and summarize the results that it generated. These include the discovery of the 2MASS J01033563–5515561 (AB)b and 2MASS J02192210–3925225 B young companions near the deuterium-burning limit as well as 44 new low-mass stars and 69 new brown dwarfs with a spectroscopically confirmed low gravity. Among those, ~20 have estimated masses within the planetary regime, one is a new L4 γ bona fide member of AB Doradus, three are TW Hydrae candidates with later spectral types (L1–L4) than all of its previously known members and six are among the first contenders for low-gravity ≥ L5 β/γ brown dwarfs, reminiscent of WISEP J004701.06+680352.1, PSO J318.5338–22.8603 and VHS J125601.92–125723.9 b. Finally, we describe a future version of this survey, BASS-Ultracool , that will specifically target ≥ L5 candidate members of young moving groups. First experimentations in designing the survey have already led to the discovery of a new T dwarf bona fide member of AB Doradus, as well as the serendipitous discoveries of an L9 subdwarf and an L5 + T5 brown dwarf binary.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2015 · Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union
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    ABSTRACT: We present the analysis of four M dwarf stars – plus one M giant that seeped past our selection criteria – observed in Cycle 3 of Kepler Guest Observer programme (GO3) in a search for intrinsic pulsations. Stellar oscillations in M dwarfs were theoretically predicted by Rodríguez-López et al. to be in the range ∼20–40 min and ∼4–8 h, depending on the age and the excitation mechanism. We requested Kepler short cadence observations to have an adequate sampling of the oscillations. The targets were chosen on the basis of detectable rotation in the initial Kepler results, biasing towards youth. The analysis reveals no oscillations attributable to pulsations at a detection limit of several parts per million, showing that either the driving mechanisms are not efficient in developing the oscillations to observable amplitudes, or that if pulsations are driven, the amplitudes are very low. The size of the sample, and the possibility that the instability strip is not pure, allowing the coexistence of pulsators and non-pulsators, prevent us from deriving definite conclusions. Immediate plans include more M dwarfs photometric observations of similar precision with Kepler K2 mission and spectroscopic searches already underway within the Cool Tiny Beats Project with the high-resolution spectrographs HARPS and HARPS-N.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2014 · Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
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    ABSTRACT: We present spectroscopy, astrometry, and photometry of the brown dwarf WISEP J004701.06+680352.1 (W0047+68), an unusually red field L dwarf at a distance of $12.2 \pm 0.4$ parsecs. The three-dimensional space motion identifies it as a member of the AB Dor Moving Group, an identification supported by our classification of W0047+68 as intermediate surface gravity (INT-G) using the Allers \& Liu (2013) near-infrared classification system. This moving group membership implies near-solar metallicity, age $\sim 100-125$ Myr, $M \approx 0.018~M_\odot$, and $\log g \approx 4.5$; the thick condensate clouds needed to explain the infrared spectrum are therefore a result of the lower surface gravity than ordinary field brown dwarfs. From the observed luminosity and evolutionary model radius, we find $T_{eff} \approx 1300 $K, a temperature normally associated with early T dwarfs. Thick clouds are also used to explain the spectral properties of directly imaged giant planets, and we discuss the successes and challenges for such substellar models in matching the observed optical and infrared spectra. W0047+68 shows that cloud thickness is more sensitive to intermediate surface gravity than in most models. We also present a trigonometric parallax of the dusty L6 dwarf 2MASS J21481628+4003593. It lies at $8.060 \pm 0.036$ parsecs; its astrometry is consistent with the view that it is older and metal-rich.
    Preview · Article · Dec 2014 · The Astrophysical Journal
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    ABSTRACT: Condensate clouds play a critical role in shaping the emergent spectra of both brown dwarfs and gas giant planets. Our understanding of the vertical structure and horizontal distribution of these clouds remains limited, however, because we typically lack the multi-epoch observations required to study the disk-integrated emergent spectrum modulated by the brown dwarf's rotation. Variability studies can be used to advance our understanding of the three dimensional structure of brown dwarf atmospheres but simultaneous, multi-wavelength observations with broad spectral coverage are required. Noticeably absent from all variability studies of brown dwarfs to date are the Y dwarfs which are the coolest brown dwarfs currently known (Teff < 450 K). Our Cycle 9 Spitzer program has shown that Y dwarfs do indeed show variability in the mid-infrared, but to date no near-infrared variability has been detected. We therefore propose an HST/Spitzer case study of the Y0.5 dwarf WISE 1405+5534. We will obtain simultaneous F105W, F125W, [3.6] and [4.5] photometry of this dwarf and compare the light curves to predictions of partly cloudy model atmospheres. These observations will not only provide critical information for dynamical models of brown dwarf atmospheres but also directly inform the interpretation and characterization of cool gas giant exoplanets detected with the next generation of high-contrast imagers like the Gemini Planet Imager (GPI) and the SPHERE instrument for the VLT.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2014
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    ABSTRACT: We present the analysis of four M dwarf stars -plus one M giant that seeped past our selection criteria- observed in Cycle 3 of Kepler Guest Observer program (GO3) in a search for intrinsic pulsations. Stellar oscillations in M dwarfs were theoretically predicted by Rodr\'iguez-L\'opez et al. (2012) to be in the range ~20-40 min and ~4-8 h, depending on the age and the excitation mechanism. We requested Kepler short cadence observations to have an adequate sampling of the oscillations. The targets were chosen on the basis of detectable rotation in the initial Kepler results, biasing towards youth.The analysis reveals no oscillations attributable to pulsations at a detection limit of several parts per million, showing that either the driving mechanisms are not efficient in developing the oscillations to observable amplitudes, or that if pulsations are driven, the amplitudes are very low. The size of the sample, and the possibility that the instability strip is not pure, allowing the coexistence of pulsators and non-pulsators, prevent us from deriving definite conclusions. Inmediate plans include more M dwarfs photometric observations of similar precision with Kepler K2 mission and spectroscopic searches already underway within the Cool Tiny Beats Project (Anglada-Escud\'e et al. 2014, Berdi\~nas et al. 2014) with the high-resolution spectrographs HARPS and HARPS-N.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2014
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    ABSTRACT: The remarkable scientific return and legacy of LSST, in the era that it will define, will not only be realized in the breakthrough science that will be achieved with catalog data. This Big Data survey will shape the way the entire astronomical community advances -- or fails to embrace -- new ways of approaching astronomical research and data. In this white paper, we address the NRC template questions 4,5,6,8 and 9, with a focus on the unique challenges for smaller, and often under-resourced, institutions, including institutions dedicated to underserved minority populations, in the efficient and effective use of LSST data products to maximize LSST's scientific return.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2014
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    ABSTRACT: Multiplicity is a key statistic for understanding the formation of very low mass (VLM) stars and brown dwarfs. Currently, the separation distribution of VLM binaries remains poorly constrained at small separations ($\leq$ 1 AU), leading to uncertainty in the overall binary fraction. We approach this problem by searching for late-M/early-L plus T dwarf spectral binaries whose combined light spectra exhibit distinct peculiarities, allowing for separation-independent identification. We define a set of spectral indices designed to identify these systems, and use a spectral template fitting method to confirm and characterize spectral binary (SB) candidates from a library of 815 spectra from the SpeX Prism Spectral Libraries. We present eleven new binary candidates, confirm three previously reported candidates and rule out two previously identified candidates, all with primary and secondary spectral types between M7-L7 and T1-T8, respectively. We find that subdwarfs and blue L dwarfs are the primary contaminants in our sample and propose a method for segregating these sources. If confirmed by follow-up observations, these systems may add to the growing list of tight separation binaries, whose orbital properties may yield further insight into brown dwarf formation scenarios.
    Preview · Article · Aug 2014 · The Astrophysical Journal
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    ABSTRACT: Condensate clouds are present in brown dwarf atmospheres due to their low surface temperatures. As the coolest (Teff < 600 K) class of brown dwarfs currently known, Y dwarfs allow us to study the unique atmospheric physics that occur at these temperatures including the formation of sulfide, chloride, and water clouds. Dynamic inhomogeneities in cloud cover should manifest as photometric variabilities in the observed light curves of brown dwarfs. This phenomenon was originally documented in two brown-dwarfs by Morales-Calderón et al. (2006) at 4.5 microns, and in one brown dwarf by Heinze et al. (2013) at 3.6 microns. We describe our ongoing program to monitor fourteen Y dwarfs for photometric variability at 3.6 and 4.5 microns with the Spitzer Space Telescope and present initial results including the first detection of Y dwarf variability.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2014
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    ABSTRACT: We report on the results of 15 months of monitoring the nearby field L1 dwarf WISEP J190648.47+401106.8 (W1906+40) with the Kepler mission. Supporting observations with the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array and Gemini North Telescope reveal that the L dwarf is magnetically active, with quiescent radio and variable Hα emission. A preliminary trigonometric parallax shows that W1906+40 is at a distance of pc, and all observations are consistent with W1906+40 being an old disk star just above the hydrogen-burning limit. The star shows photometric variability with a period of 8.9 hr and an amplitude of 1.5%, with a consistent phase throughout the year. We infer a radius of 0.92 ± 0.07RJ and sin i > 0.57 from the observed period, luminosity (10–3.67 ± 0.03L ☉), effective temperature (2300 ± 75 K), and vsin i (11.2 ± 2.2 km s–1). The light curve may be modeled with a single large, high latitude dark spot. Unlike many L-type brown dwarfs, there is no evidence of other variations at the 2% level, either non-periodic or transient periodic, that mask the underlying rotation period. We suggest that the long-lived surface features may be due to starspots, but the possibility of cloud variations cannot be ruled out without further multi-wavelength observations. During the Gemini spectroscopy, we observed the most powerful flare ever seen on an L dwarf, with an estimated energy of ~1.6 × 1032 erg in white light emission. Using the Kepler data, we identify similar flares and estimate that white light flares with optical/ultraviolet energies of 1031 erg or more occur on W1906+40 as often as 1-2 times per month.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2013 · The Astrophysical Journal
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    ABSTRACT: We discover four high proper motion L dwarfs by comparing the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) to the Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS). WISE J140533.32+835030.5 is an L dwarf at the L/T transition with a proper motion of 0.85+/-0.02" yr^-1, previously overlooked due to its proximity to a bright star (V=12 mag). From optical spectroscopy we find a spectral type of L8, and from moderate-resolution J band spectroscopy we find a near-infrared spectral type of L9. We find WISE J140533.32+835030.5 to have a distance of 9.7+/-1.7 pc, bringing the number of L dwarfs at the L/T transition within 10 pc from six to seven. WISE J040137.21+284951.7, WISE J040418.01+412735.6, and WISE J062442.37+662625.6 are all early L dwarfs within 25 pc, and were classified using optical and low-resolution near-infrared spectra. WISE J040418.01+412735.6 is an L2 pec (red) dwarf, a member of the class of unusually red L dwarfs. We use follow-up optical and low-resolution near-infrared spectroscopy to classify a previously discovered (Castro & Gizis 2012) fifth object WISEP J060738.65+242953.4 as an (L8 Opt/L9 NIR), confirming it as an L dwarf at the L/T transition within 10 pc. WISEP J060738.65+242953.4 shows tentative CH_4 in the H band, possibly the result of unresolved binarity with an early T dwarf, a scenario not supported by binary spectral template fitting. If WISEP J060738.65+242953.4 is a single object, it represents the earliest onset of CH_4 in the H band of an L/T transition dwarf in the SpeX Library. As very late L dwarfs within 10 pc, WISE J140533.32+835030.5 and WISEP J060738.65+242953.4 will play a vital role in resolving outstanding issues at the L/T transition.
    Preview · Article · Aug 2013 · The Astrophysical Journal
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    ABSTRACT: Stellar multiplicity properties have been studied for much of the range from the lowest to the highest stellar masses, but intermediate-mass stars from F-type to late A-type have received relatively little attention. Here we report on a Gemini/NICI snapshot imaging survey of 138 such stars in the young Scorpius-Centaurus (Sco-Cen) region, for the purpose of studying multiplicity with sensitivity down to planetary masses at wide separations. In addition to two brown dwarfs and a companion straddling the hydrogen burning limit we reported previously, here we present 26 new stellar companions and determine a multiplicity fraction within 0.1"--5.0" of 21+/-4%. Depending on the adopted semi-major axis distribution, our results imply a total multiplicity in the range of ~60--80%, which further supports the known trend of a smoothly continuous increase in the multiplicity fraction as a function of primary stellar mass. A surprising feature in the sample is a distinct lack of nearly equal-mass binaries, for which we discuss possible reasons. The survey yielded no additional companions below or near the deuterium-burning limit, implying that their frequency at >200 AU separations is not quite as high as might be inferred from previous detections of such objects within the Sco-Cen region.
    Preview · Article · Jul 2013 · The Astrophysical Journal
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    ABSTRACT: We report on more than one year of monitoring the nearby field L1 dwarf WISEP J190648.47+401106.8 with the Kepler mission. Supporting ground-based observations show that it is magnetically active with quiescent radio and H alpha emission. The rotation rate is 8.9 hours with a long-lived large surface feature, possibly a starspot or cloud. We report new constraints on the surface features from simultaneous spectroscopy and photometry. Short-cadence Kepler observations detect white light flares with estimated energy 10^31 ergs that occur at least once a month; the flare rise times are a few minutes and the most powerful last for hours. We discuss simultaneous Gemini spectroscopy of these flares that confirm white light and atomic emission lines. Despite the low effective temperature 2300K) and size (<1 Jupiter radius) of this L dwarf, it has a flare rate comparable to the Sun.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2013
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    ABSTRACT: The launch of NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) in late 2009 ushered in an new era in the study of the solar neighborhood. Its mid-infrared capabilities have proven critical to the discovery of the bulk of the coolest (T_(eff) <1000 K) brown dwarfs, including the new Y dwarfs, and its all-sky coverage lends itself to searches for high proper motions stars using other infrared surveys such as the Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS), UKIRT Infrared Deep Sky Survey (UKIDSS), and Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA) surveys. This splinter session of the 17th Cambridge Workshop on Cool Stars, Stellar Systems and the Sun was organized to bring together researchers working with WISE data to both identify brown dwarfs and characterize their properties.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2013 · Astronomische Nachrichten
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    ABSTRACT: We propose Spitzer observations of the L1 dwarf WISEP J190648.47+401106.8. This chromospherically active very-low-mass star or brown dwarf happens to lie in the Kepler field, allowing a unique opportunity to monitor optical variations over the next several years. The first nine months of Kepler data establish that the object shows periodic variations that have remained in phase -- this is in contrast to many of the results reported for less sensitive ground-based campaigns with much poorer time coverage. There is evidence of magnetic activity, and Spitzer observations can distinguish between proposed starspot, cloud, and aurora models for the optical variations. The proposed observations will lead to a better understanding of warm substellar atmospheres.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2012

Publication Stats

9k Citations
549.08 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2001-2015
    • University of Delaware
      • Department of Physics and Astronomy
      Ньюарк, Delaware, United States
  • 2014
    • Western University
      London, Ontario, Canada
    • Bucknell University
      • Department of Physics and Astronomy
      Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, United States
  • 1998-2009
    • University of Massachusetts Amherst
      • Department of Astronomy
      Amherst Center, Massachusetts, United States
  • 1996-2008
    • California Institute of Technology
      • Infrared Processing and Analysis Center
      Pasadena, California, United States