ABOUT ME

I am a radio astronomer, molecular astrophysicist and broadly interested in Galactic structure and the properties of the interstellar medium as a whole. To study the properties of the ISM, I use various tracers of atomic, molecular and ionized gas, including novel ways to study 'dark' molecular gas by using non conventional molecules tracers, and specifically the OH molecule.

During my Ph.D work I have also worked with Adam Riess on a new Cepheids distance to M31, and I worked closely with my Ph.D advisor, the late Ronald J. Allen. I now work with Josh Peek under the umbrella of the ISM*ST group at Space Telescope Science Institute.

Outside of academia, I enjoy writing fiction (historical and fantasy), reading about history, reading sci-fi, playing my Cello and swimming.

MichaelwRonatGBT.jpg

Me with my late Ph.D advisor, Ronald J. Allen (1940-2020), outside the Jansky lab at the Green Bank Observatory.

EDUCATION

RESEARCH INTERESTS

Dark Molecular Gas

My main research focus is on the mysterious portion of molecular gas that is not traced by the conventional tracer of CO. This gas is referred to as 'dark molecular gas', which I have been tracing with OH (Busch et al. 2019). Using GBT observations of the ground state OH 18cm emission lines, I have been studying the large scale galactic distribution and physical properties of the dark molecular gas.

2012-2016

Arizona State University

B.S. Physics, B.S. Astrophysics

2016-Present

Johns Hopkins University

Ph.D Candidate, NSF Fellow

LSST Data Science Fellow

Gas in The Interstellar Medium

Gas in the interstellar medium is surprisingly hard to study due to the multitude of environments that this gas exists in. From the halo of the Galaxy to the spiral arms, the gas in our Galaxy exists in many different phases of temperature, density, molecular/ionization faction and excitation states.

 

I typically use HI (atomic), OH or CO (Molecular) and C+ (ionized) emission lines to trace different phases of the interstellar medium and study their physical properties. 

Radio Astronomy and Data Reduction

The field of radio astronomy is filled with large amounts of data that seems to be multiplying by the day, with new telescopes that come online and surveys that are completed, we need to learn how to deal with such massive volumes of data and at different frequencies. I currently use GBTIDL and CASA to reduce radio data from the GBT and VLA and an assortment of Python tools like Gausspyto reduce and examine data.