Imke de Pater, Professor

Closed (1) Exploring our Solar System through observations at radio, infrared and visible wavelengths.

Closed. This professor is continuing with Fall 2020 apprentices on this project; no new apprentices needed for Spring 2021.

Over the past years our research group has focused on observations of the solar system using ground-based telescopes equipped with Adaptive Optics systems, in particular the 10 meter Keck telescope in Mauna Kea, Hawaii, and the 8-m VLT telescope in Chili. Adaptive Optics is a cutting edge technology, based on the real-time correction of distortions introduced by atmospheric turbulence, and yields images close to the diffraction limit of the telescope. For instance, images of Io, a satellite of Jupiter and the most volcanically active body in the solar system, reveal details as small as 100 km, making our data comparable with those provided by Space missions.
We routinely observe a wide range of targets, use different observing techniques (and wavelengths) and a broad range of physical principals in our data analysis. Examples include: high temperature volcanoes on Io, weather on Titan, Neptune and Uranus and their ring+satellite systems, and searches for moonlet companions of asteroids. The applicant will choose a topic together with the advisor; all projects will involve image processing and analysis of data with simulations.


Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Steve Croft

Qualifications: Students with solid bases in mathematics and physics will be appreciated. Knowledge in UNIX/Linux OS and IDL will be a plus.

Weekly Hours: 6-8 hrs

Related website:

Closed (2) SETI: Breakthrough Listen

Applications for spring 2021 are now closed for this project.

Berkeley SETI Research Center (BSRC): the Breakthrough Listen project.

BSRC is a world-leader in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence – the quest for a scientific answer to one of humanity’s oldest questions: Are we alone in the Universe? Housed in the Astronomy Department at the University of California, Berkeley, the team at BSRC leads the science program for the $100-million Breakthrough Listen project. Our scientists and engineers are pioneers in the development of software, instrumentation, and science strategy for the search for intelligent life on other worlds. We have access to substantial amounts of time on the planet’s largest telescopes, connections to leading players in industry, and we’re based in one of the world’s premiere astronomy research institutions. We’re also psyched that we get to wake up each day and hunt for aliens.

BSRC seeks undergraduate research interns to work at the cutting edge of the search. Previous interns have written software to monitor the status of the telescopes we use, algorithms to search vast quantities of data for interesting signals, visualizations of our target databases, and much more. If you are motivated, work well as a member of a team, and can take initiative and responsibility for your own work, you’ll fit in well in our group. In fact, our Director Dr. Andrew Siemion started his own research career as a UC Berkeley undergraduate!

The majority of our projects make heavy use of modern programming languages and tools. While we don’t expect applicants to be experts in all of these areas, familiarity and experience with one or more of Python / Jupyter, version control (e.g. git / github), database software (e.g. MySQL), visualization tools (e.g. Bokeh, D3, etc.), GPU programming, visualization, interface design, machine-learning environments, cloud computing, Unix / Linux scripting, and / or public outreach will make for a strong application. Prior astronomy research experience is not a prerequisite, although if you have knowledge or experience of positional astronomy, observational astronomy, radio astronomy, signal processing, and / or data reduction we would like to hear about that in your application.

, Staff Researcher

Qualifications: Computer skills

Weekly Hours: 6-8 hrs

Related website:

Closed (3) Modeling (exo)-planetary atmospheres

Closed. This professor is continuing with Fall 2020 apprentices on this project; no new apprentices needed for Spring 2021.

Using detailed cloud and chemistry models of planetary and exoplanet atmospheres to improve interpretations of current observations, better understand atmospheric and interior planetary processes, and make predictions for future observatories.

TBA, Post-Doc

Weekly Hours: 6-8 hrs