Below is a list of project ideas that either A) I am hoping to work on, or B) I would love a student or collaborator to work on! I am putting these ideas online in the hopes of attracting people to help work on them. If you see something you’d like to collaborate on, please reach out to me!

  • Stellar Rotation with K2 (and TESS)
    • use Gaia to filter out “junk”
    • working primarily with Ruth Angus
    • some thoughts on (many!) sub-projects here
  • Searching for Flare Rate Changes
    • The Sun has ~10x change in flare rate between “max” and “min” of Solar Cycle
    • We have 4-year flare rates in Kepler that can be chopped into windows of time!
    • Simple goal: look for any coherent changes
    • have hand-selected ~20 stars to start search in, have high variance & high S/N in FFD plots.
  • Searching for “Boyajian’s Star” analogs in SDSS
    • idea first outlined here
  • Unresolved binaries from Gaia
    • started sketching idea out on GitHub
    • L. Anderson & D. Hogg doing similar work w/ wide binaries, may be good overlap?
  • Searching for “missing transits” in Kepler
    • this one’s a bit harebrained…
    • are there any Kepler transits that are “missing”, i.e. should have been visible but didn’t occur
    • a potential SETI signal, according to a recent paper
    • a more detailed explanation is on this blog post
  • Lunar occultations of K2 targets
  • Stellar Activity variations using GALEX
    • can we see evidence of solar cycles or other long-term variability?
    • involves searching for “non stationary” variability (e.g. not periodic within data span)
    • some initial thoughts on this blog post
  • Eclipsing Binary Stars across entire galaxies
    • use data from OGLE survey, over 48k binaries in SMC/LMC
    • look for variations in orbit period distribution
    • compare to star formation histories of SMC/LMC, look for connection to age
    • more thoughts on this blog post
  • Searching for M dwarf flares/variability in WISE
    • use the NEOWISE light curves
    • pick M dwarfs using J-W2 color
    • use best sampled light curves from polar regions with most visits
    • also look at previously known flaring M dwarfs
      • e.g (UV Ceti, AD Leo, YZ CMi, CN Leo, Proxima Cen…)
    • some looking @ M dwarf variability with WISE already
  • Recovering differential rotation from Kepler light curves
    • use machine learning to learn features in the periodogram that correlate with differential rotation
    • some more details are at this blog post
  • Flux calibration of the TESS data
    • This should be done, but currently is not planned for the TESS full frame images.
    • some more details are at this blog post
  • Detailed Properties of Stellar Flares versus Spectral Type
    • Use flare sample from active stars in Kepler
    • Look at classical flare morphology, like in this paper
    • Look at details of complex flares, like in this paper
  • Could circumbinary exoplanets form very tight (contact) binary systems?
    • some shaky details for this idea are here
  • Project Dust Storm: Can we see the proper motions of dust within the Galaxy?
    • could we directly image (e.g. with ALMA) dust moving over a decade-long timeline? (I’m not sure how good ALMA’s astrometry is…)
    • could we imply clouds moving due to changes in the foreground dust extinction for background stars/objects over time?
    • Would be good to do order-of-magnitude calculation about spherical cloud of dust moving…
    • some more details of this longtime pet project are here
  • How many eclipsing binary stars do we expect to see in an open cluster?
    • A straight forward numerical question. Take all known probability distributions of stars/clusters/binaries, as well as observability constraints, and multiply them together.
    • compare to best known catalogs of eclipsing binaries in open clusters (e.g. M67). Do we get roughly the right number?
    • Can we improve constraint on eclipsing binary population statistics (e.g. period distribution) based on results of our forward modeling?
    • a few more details are in this blog post
    • Kepler/K2 data for M67 is now available
  • Validating a weird short period Eclipsing Binary
    • I’ve got an object with data, and I think I know what it is, but need to analyze the data
    • would help to generate a full eclipsing binary model of the system using PHOEBE or similar
  • PyDIS: The Python-based long slit spectroscopy pipeline
  • Gender in Astronomy Conferences
    • Ongoing project that needs help analyzing data!
    • Data is simple to read, basic plots and analysis are needed!
    • More info here
  • Tricycle: Looking for eclipsing binary systems with two rotation periods
    • “3 periods, 2 stars, 1 age”
    • Possibly interesting systems from standpoint of “gyrochronology”, as well as binary dynamics!
    • working with collaborators at UW (GitHub project)
  • “Chemical cartography” using SDSS M dwarfs
    • given huge spectroscopic sample of M dwarfs from SDSS (and now LAMOST), can we use rough [Fe/H] measurements to trace abundances nearby?
    • can we re-cast these [Fe/H] measurements in to more useful relative line measurements, and/or use photometric colors?
    • I started working on this a few years ago, but have lost steam.