Steward Observatory, University of Arizona,933 N Cherry Ave., Tucson AZ 8572
Subaru Telescope, National Observatory of Japan, National Institutes of Natural Sciences, 650 N. A'ohoku Place, Hilo, HI 96720 (USA)
Astrobiology Center, National Institutes of Natural Sciences, 2-21-1 Osawa, Mitaka, Tokyo, JAPAN
Who am I ?
I am an astronomer, focusing on the development of new capabilities to explore exoplanets. I have been interested in astronomy since I was a ~10 yrs old, and I started as an amateur astronomer, looking at the sky through my eyes, binoculars, and then increasingly larger home-built telescopes (which have completely taken over my garage !).
Is there life somewhere else in the Universe ? If yes, where ? and what is it like ?
OK, we don't know yet... but we, astronomers, are working hard on these questions.
To answer them, we need to build telescopes and cameras that are optimized to see faint planets next to bright nearby stars in the sky. I work with other astronomers and engineers to develop such instruments for both space and the ground. The main challenges are to block the light of the star without also blocking the planet (this is what coronagraphs are designed to do) and to control extremely well the optical quality of the telescope (adaptive optics).
Amateur astronomy (things I do on weekends and nights)
I spend a good fraction of my time building and using telescopes as an amateur astronomer (doing astronomy just for fun, enjoying the night sky). I, like other amateur astronomers, am mysteriously driven to dark skies when the moon is not in the way.
(Olivier, Priscilla and the Galactic Center: Image taken by Josh Walawender)