Michael W McElwain

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Michael W McElwain

  • RSCH AST, STIR GALCTIC&XTRGLTC ASTR
  • 301.286.6094
  • NASA/GSFC
  • Mail Code: 667
  • Greenbelt , MD 20771
  • Employer: NASA
  • Brief Bio

    March 2011 - Present : Research Astrophysicist, Exoplanets and Stellar Astrophysics Lab, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
    September 2009 - February 2011: National Science Foundation Astronomy & Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellow, Astrophysical Sciences, Princeton University
    October 2007 - September 2009: Henry Norris Russell Postdoctoral Fellow, Astrophysical Sciences, Princeton University
    January 2009 - April 2009: Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Fellow, Board on Physics and Astronomy, The National Academies
    September 2001 - September 2007: Graduate Student Researcher, Physics and Astronomy, University of California at Los Angeles
    May 2009 - August 2001: Undergraduate Student Researcher, Physis and Astronomy, University of Pennsylvania

    Current Projects

    Advancing High Contrast Imaging Technologies with Integral Field Spectroscopy

    This ROSES Nancy Grace Roman Technology Fellowship (PI McElwain) is to design a novel optical integral field spectrograph (IFS) for use with the NASA Exoplanet Exploration Program High Contrast Imaging Testbed (HCIT) facility at JPL. This specialized IFS will be optimized for high contrast imaging (contrast ~10^-10) and will represent a viable design for a flight-like instrument targeting exoplanet spectroscopy with direct imaging. Integral field spectroscopy is ideal for high contrast imaging, because in addition to spectral characterization of exoplanet atmospheres, the data products will also sample the chromatic effects of the telescope optical assembly. It is of paramount importance to correct for the aberrations introduced by the telescope optical assembly using focal plane wavefront sensing techniques.

    Current laboratory testing of internal coronagraphs use adaptive optics to compensate for aberrations from optical elements that simulate the telescope optical assembly. While deep contrasts (planet to star contrasts of ~10^-10) have been achieved in very narrow bandpasses (~1%), experimental tests at broader bandpasses have been been unable to reach similar contrasts. The current system is limited by stability of the optical assembly and the ability to correct the wavefront over a broad bandpass. This IFS will be used with existing HCIT internal coronagraphs to characterize the chromaticity of their achieved wavefront solutions, towards the goal of isolating and rectifying the sources of bandwidth limitations. The instrument and calibration procedures will be made available to other HCIT users, stimulating the development and assessment of all internal coronagraph types being studied in NASA's New Worlds Technology Program.

    Wide Exoplanet Discovery and Characterization: The SEEDS of Planet Formation and Beyond

    This ROSES Origins of Solar Systems supported program (PI McElwain) will study transitional disk morphologies indicative of exoplanets perturbations.  Transitional disks provide a unique time in disk dissipation and planet formation where both indirect and direct observables provide important insights into exoplanets. We will 1) use a new method for estimating the number and mass of young planets in these transitional disks, using spiral arm fitting theoretical tools; 2) constrain the location of young planets in their transitional disks by searching for rotation of spiral arm features in multi-epoch data and searching for spiral arm inflection points in our extreme AO imagery; and 3) perform a direct search for these planets with new L'- and M-band imaging and ExAO imaging.

    Emission Line Astronomy - Coronagraphic Tunable Narrow Band Imaging and Integral Field Spectroscopy.

    This APRA program (PI McElwain) is contining a program of emission line astronomy featuring three areas of emphasis: 1) The distribution and nature of high redshift emission line galaxies, using the Lyman alpha and other rest-frame UV lines; and the study of planetary systems in formation in the first 10 Myrs, with the interplay of circumstellar disks and jets; and spectral differencing of transiting planets. 2) We are extending the capability of our Goddard Fabry-Perot Imager by incorporating a Coronagraphic Integral Field Spectrograph (CIFS), and will continue our observations with the improved instrument.  The CIFS, which has been delivered to the Apache Point Observatory's 3.5-m telescope, consists of a custom microlens array and magnifier section, a grating wheel assembly, and a photon-counting electron-multiplying CCD (EMCCD). It provides observational support to interpret data from the HST, Spitzer, Chandra, Herschel and soon JWST space observatories with capabilities not available on them, and will be used to develop technology for future NASA flight programs such as WFIRST, and NWO, THEIA, ATLAST and other planet-finding missions.

    Professional Societies

    Society of Photographic Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE) , 2007 - Present
    American Astronomical Soceity (AAS) , 2001 - Present

    Professional Service

    SOC "Signposts of Planets Conference" NASA GSFC
    NAOJ Subaru Telescope Time Allocation Committee
    National Science Foundation Astronomy and Astrophysics Research Grants Panelist
    National Science Foundation Major Research Instrumentation Program Panelist
    Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Paci c Referee

    Awards

    Co-discovery of GJ 758 B - TIME Magazine Top 10 Science Discoveries of 2009

    Selected Publications

    Refereed

    Carson, J., C. Thalmann, M. Janson, et al. T. Kozakis, M. Bonnefoy, B. Biller, J. Schlieder, T. Currie, M. W. Mcelwain, M. Goto, T. Henning, W. Brandner, M. Feldt, R. Kandori, M. Kuzuhara, L. Stevens, P. Wong, K. Gainey, M. Fukagawa, Y. Kuwada, T. Brandt, J. Kwon, L. Abe, S. Egner, C. Grady, O. Guyon, J. Hashimoto, Y. Hayano, M. Hayashi, S. Hayashi, K. Hodapp, M. Ishii, M. Iye, G. Knapp, T. Kudo, N. Kusakabe, T. Matsuo, S. Miyama, J. Morino, A. Moro-Martin, T. Nishimura, T. Pyo, E. Serabyn, H. Suto, R. Suzuki, M. Takami, N. Takato, H. Terada, D. Tomono, E. Turner, M. Watanabe, J. Wisniewski, T. Yamada, H. Takami, T. Usuda, and M. Tamura. 2013. "Direct Imaging Discovery of a `Super-Jupiter' around the Late B-type Star Kappa Andromedae." The Astrophysical Journal Letters, 763: L32 [10.1088/2041-8205/763/2/L32]

    Brandt, T. D., M. W. Mcelwain, E. L. Turner, et al. L. Abe, W. Brandner, J. Carson, S. Egner, M. Feldt, T. Golota, M. Goto, O. Guyon, C. A. Grady, J. Hashimoto, Y. Hayano, M. Hayashi, S. Hayashi, T. Henning, K. W. Hodapp, M. Ishii, M. Iye, M. Janson, R. Kandori, G. R. Knapp, T. Kudo, N. Kusakabe, M. Kuzuhara, J. Kwon, T. Matsuo, S. Miyama, J.-I. Morino, A. Moro-Martin, T. Nishimura, T.-S. Pyo, E. Serabyn, H. Suto, R. Suzuki, M. Takami, N. Takato, H. Terada, C. Thalmann, D. Tomono, M. Watanabe, J. P. Wisniewski, T. Yamada, H. Takami, T. Usuda, and M. Tamura. 2013. "New Techniques for High-contrast Imaging with ADI: The ACORNS-ADI SEEDS Data Reduction Pipeline." The Astrophysical Journal, 764: 183 [10.1088/004-637X/764/2/183]

    Mcelwain, M. W., T. Brandt, M. Janson, et al. G. Knapp, M. A. Peters, A. S. Burrows, A. Carlotti, M. A. Carr, T. Groff, J. E. Gunn, O. Guyon, M. Hayashi, N. J. Kasdin, M. Kuzuhara, R. Lupton, F. Martinache, D. Spiegel, N. Takato, M. Tamura, E. L. Turner, and R. J. Vanderbei. 2012. "Scientific design of a high contrast integral field spectrograph for the Subaru Telescope." SPIE, 8446: [Full Text (Link)]

    Mcelwain, M. W., A. M. Mandell, B. E. Woodgate, et al. D. S. Spiegel, N. Madhusudhan, E. G. Amatucci, C. Blake, J. G. Budinoff, A. Burgasser, A. Burrows, M. Clampin, C. Conroy, L. D. Deming, E. Dunham, R. D. Foltz, Q. Gong, H. Knutson, T. T. Muench, R. Murray-Clay, H. L. Peabody, B. J. Rauscher, S. A. Rinehart, and G. L. Villanueva. 2012. "NIMBUS: the Near-infrared Multi-Band Ultraprecise Spectroimager for SOFIA." SPIE, 8446: [10.1117/12.927094]

    Geißler, K., S. A. Metchev, A. Pham, et al. J. E. Larkin, M. W. Mcelwain, and L. A. Hillenbrand. 2012. "A Substellar Common Proper-motion Companion to the Pleiad H II 1348." The Astrophysical Journal, 746: 44 [10.1088/0004-637X/746/1/44]

    Cady, E., M. W. Mcelwain, N. J. Kasdin, and C. Thalmann. 2011. "A Dual-Mask Coronagraph for Observing Faint Companions to Binary Stars." Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 123: 333 [10.1086/659038]

    Janson, M., J. Carson, C. Thalmann, et al. M. W. Mcelwain, M. Goto, J. Crepp, J. Wisniewski, L. Abe, W. Brandner, A. Burrows, S. Egner, M. Feldt, C. A. Grady, T. Golota, O. Guyon, J. Hashimoto, Y. Hayano, M. Hayashi, S. Hayashi, T. Henning, K. W. Hodapp, M. Ishii, M. Iye, R. Kandori, G. R. Knapp, T. Kudo, N. Kusakabe, M. Kuzuhara, T. Matsuo, S. Mayama, S. Miyama, J. Morino, A. Moro-Mart’n, T. Nishimura, T. Pyo, E. Serabyn, H. Suto, R. Suzuki, M. Takami, N. Takato, H. Terada, B. Tofflemire, D. Tomono, E. L. Turner, M. Watanabe, T. Yamada, H. Takami, T. Usuda, and M. Tamura. 2011. "Near-infrared Multi-band Photometry of the Substellar Companion GJ 758 B." The Astrophysical Journal, 728: 85 [Full Text (Link)] [10.1088/0004-637X/728/2/85]

    Mcelwain, M. W., S. A. Metchev, J. E. Larkin, et al. M. Barczys, C. Iserlohe, A. Krabbe, A. Quirrenbach, J. Weiss, and S. A. Wright. 2007. "First High Contrast Science with an Integral Field Spectrograph: The Substellar Companion to GQ Lupi." The Astrophysical Journal, 656: 505-514 [Full Text (Link)] [10.1086/510063]

    Mcelwain, M. W., and A. Burgasser. 2006. "Resolved Spectroscopy of M Dwarf/L Dwarf Binaries. II. 2MASS J17072343-0558249AB." The Astronomical Journal , 132: 2074-2081 [Full Text (Link)] [10.1086/508199]

    Brief Bio

    March 2011 - Present : Research Astrophysicist, Exoplanets and Stellar Astrophysics Lab, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
    September 2009 - February 2011: National Science Foundation Astronomy & Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellow, Astrophysical Sciences, Princeton University
    October 2007 - September 2009: Henry Norris Russell Postdoctoral Fellow, Astrophysical Sciences, Princeton University
    January 2009 - April 2009: Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Fellow, Board on Physics and Astronomy, The National Academies
    September 2001 - September 2007: Graduate Student Researcher, Physics and Astronomy, University of California at Los Angeles
    May 2009 - August 2001: Undergraduate Student Researcher, Physis and Astronomy, University of Pennsylvania

    Refereed

    Carson, J., C. Thalmann, M. Janson, et al. T. Kozakis, M. Bonnefoy, B. Biller, J. Schlieder, T. Currie, M. W. Mcelwain, M. Goto, T. Henning, W. Brandner, M. Feldt, R. Kandori, M. Kuzuhara, L. Stevens, P. Wong, K. Gainey, M. Fukagawa, Y. Kuwada, T. Brandt, J. Kwon, L. Abe, S. Egner, C. Grady, O. Guyon, J. Hashimoto, Y. Hayano, M. Hayashi, S. Hayashi, K. Hodapp, M. Ishii, M. Iye, G. Knapp, T. Kudo, N. Kusakabe, T. Matsuo, S. Miyama, J. Morino, A. Moro-Martin, T. Nishimura, T. Pyo, E. Serabyn, H. Suto, R. Suzuki, M. Takami, N. Takato, H. Terada, D. Tomono, E. Turner, M. Watanabe, J. Wisniewski, T. Yamada, H. Takami, T. Usuda, and M. Tamura. 2013. "Direct Imaging Discovery of a `Super-Jupiter' around the Late B-type Star Kappa Andromedae." The Astrophysical Journal Letters 763 L32 [10.1088/2041-8205/763/2/L32]

    Brandt, T. D., M. W. Mcelwain, E. L. Turner, et al. L. Abe, W. Brandner, J. Carson, S. Egner, M. Feldt, T. Golota, M. Goto, O. Guyon, C. A. Grady, J. Hashimoto, Y. Hayano, M. Hayashi, S. Hayashi, T. Henning, K. W. Hodapp, M. Ishii, M. Iye, M. Janson, R. Kandori, G. R. Knapp, T. Kudo, N. Kusakabe, M. Kuzuhara, J. Kwon, T. Matsuo, S. Miyama, J.-I. Morino, A. Moro-Martin, T. Nishimura, T.-S. Pyo, E. Serabyn, H. Suto, R. Suzuki, M. Takami, N. Takato, H. Terada, C. Thalmann, D. Tomono, M. Watanabe, J. P. Wisniewski, T. Yamada, H. Takami, T. Usuda, and M. Tamura. 2013. "New Techniques for High-contrast Imaging with ADI: The ACORNS-ADI SEEDS Data Reduction Pipeline." The Astrophysical Journal 764 183 [10.1088/004-637X/764/2/183]

    Mcelwain, M. W., T. Brandt, M. Janson, et al. G. Knapp, M. A. Peters, A. S. Burrows, A. Carlotti, M. A. Carr, T. Groff, J. E. Gunn, O. Guyon, M. Hayashi, N. J. Kasdin, M. Kuzuhara, R. Lupton, F. Martinache, D. Spiegel, N. Takato, M. Tamura, E. L. Turner, and R. J. Vanderbei. 2012. "Scientific design of a high contrast integral field spectrograph for the Subaru Telescope." SPIE 8446 [Full Text (Link)]

    Mcelwain, M. W., A. M. Mandell, B. E. Woodgate, et al. D. S. Spiegel, N. Madhusudhan, E. G. Amatucci, C. Blake, J. G. Budinoff, A. Burgasser, A. Burrows, M. Clampin, C. Conroy, L. D. Deming, E. Dunham, R. D. Foltz, Q. Gong, H. Knutson, T. T. Muench, R. Murray-Clay, H. L. Peabody, B. J. Rauscher, S. A. Rinehart, and G. L. Villanueva. 2012. "NIMBUS: the Near-infrared Multi-Band Ultraprecise Spectroimager for SOFIA." SPIE 8446 [10.1117/12.927094]

    Geißler, K., S. A. Metchev, A. Pham, et al. J. E. Larkin, M. W. Mcelwain, and L. A. Hillenbrand. 2012. "A Substellar Common Proper-motion Companion to the Pleiad H II 1348." The Astrophysical Journal 746 44 [10.1088/0004-637X/746/1/44]

    Cady, E., M. W. Mcelwain, N. J. Kasdin, and C. Thalmann. 2011. "A Dual-Mask Coronagraph for Observing Faint Companions to Binary Stars." Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific 123 333 [10.1086/659038]

    Janson, M., J. Carson, C. Thalmann, et al. M. W. Mcelwain, M. Goto, J. Crepp, J. Wisniewski, L. Abe, W. Brandner, A. Burrows, S. Egner, M. Feldt, C. A. Grady, T. Golota, O. Guyon, J. Hashimoto, Y. Hayano, M. Hayashi, S. Hayashi, T. Henning, K. W. Hodapp, M. Ishii, M. Iye, R. Kandori, G. R. Knapp, T. Kudo, N. Kusakabe, M. Kuzuhara, T. Matsuo, S. Mayama, S. Miyama, J. Morino, A. Moro-Mart’n, T. Nishimura, T. Pyo, E. Serabyn, H. Suto, R. Suzuki, M. Takami, N. Takato, H. Terada, B. Tofflemire, D. Tomono, E. L. Turner, M. Watanabe, T. Yamada, H. Takami, T. Usuda, and M. Tamura. 2011. "Near-infrared Multi-band Photometry of the Substellar Companion GJ 758 B." The Astrophysical Journal 728 85 [Full Text (Link)] [10.1088/0004-637X/728/2/85]

    Mcelwain, M. W., S. A. Metchev, J. E. Larkin, et al. M. Barczys, C. Iserlohe, A. Krabbe, A. Quirrenbach, J. Weiss, and S. A. Wright. 2007. "First High Contrast Science with an Integral Field Spectrograph: The Substellar Companion to GQ Lupi." The Astrophysical Journal 656 505-514 [Full Text (Link)] [10.1086/510063]

    Mcelwain, M. W., and A. Burgasser. 2006. "Resolved Spectroscopy of M Dwarf/L Dwarf Binaries. II. 2MASS J17072343-0558249AB." The Astronomical Journal 132 2074-2081 [Full Text (Link)] [10.1086/508199]

                                                                                                                                                                                            
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