Introducing David Sliski

David Sliski is currently a Telescope Engineer at the University of Pennsylvania where he will also be starting his Ph.D this fall. His work mainly focuses on the detection and characterization of
exoplanets. At Penn, David joined Prof. Cullen Blake’s group to help design, build, install and new fiber fed echelle spectrograph aimed at probing the NIR (800-900nm) to study the planet population of nearby M-Dwarfs. MINERVA Red, a 0.7m telescope installed at Mt. Hopkins (May 2015) and should begin commissioning this fall. Although the telescope is small, the hope is that with an high cadence observations, a stabilized spectrometer, and a photonic lantern used to eliminate modal noise, one should be able to achieve ~m/s resolution. This telescope and its design goals are very similar to the MINERVA collaboration, which uses the same telescopes, and design concepts; the only major difference is that MINERVA is targeting solar type stars in the eta earth catalog rather than nearby M-Dwarfs.

David’s past work focused on detrending Kepler data using a technique dubbed “Asterodensity Profiling”, which is the act of comparing the stellar density derived from the transit light curve to an independent measure. David Kipping (@David_Kipping), David’s former advisor and others have determined several causes for a potential difference between the two densities, most notably an eccentric orbit, a background blend, and TTVs. Understanding these effects allows the observer to back out effects which otherwise require additional follow up from RVs. In the era of Kepler, K2, Tess, and Plato, follow up resources will be scarce. The hope is that this technique can help astronomer identify the best ways to use our collective resources.

David will also highlight past projects such as DASCH, the Digital Access to a Sky Century at Harvard which aims to digitize 500,000+ glass plates taken over a century (1885-1992). Once digitized, this catalogue will create the longest baseline currently available to evaluate photometric variability of objects whose magnitude is greater than 17th in B band. While working at DASCH, David was responsible for launching the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics portion of the Smithsonian Transcription Center, which focused on transcribing old logbooks to aid in the digitization of DASCH. David is also collaborating with Derrick Pitts, Chief Astronomer at the Franklin Institute, to create a new lecture series where astronomers in the Philadelphia area will present their research to the general public in hopes of continuing to excited them about the wonders of the cosmos.

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