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We're hiring!


Our research group is hiring a postdoctoral research fellow with the start date between January and May 2022. The applicant will join the research group for an initial 12-month appointment, with a possibility of a 1-year extension, contingent on continued interest and successful performance. Competitive applicants will have an established track record in computational astrophysics, data science and programming. The principal focus for the postdoctoral scholar will be on eclipsing binary (EB) data from NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) mission. TESS observed almost 5000 EBs on 2-min cadence and hundreds of thousands of EBs in full-frame images. The postdoc will spearhead the effort of extracting lightcurves and principal parameters for the full-frame image dataset, using short cadence data as calibration reference. Methods based on dimensionality reduction/down-projection, artificial intelligence, and clustering are expected to play a central role in the project. In addition, the generalized code-base developed for TESS EBs is envisioned to be added to the PHOEBE suite ( The postdoctoral research fellow will be expected to:

  • extract lightcurve data from full-frame images;
  • develop classification algorithms for eclipsing binaries from extracted lightcurve data;
  • use short cadence (2-min) data to train an artificial neural network in estimating principal parameters from EB lightcurves;
  • run an extensive and comprehensive analysis of EBs found in full-frame images;
  • implement successful algorithms into the PHOEBE suite;
  • work with and advise graduate and undergraduate students participating in the project.

Please apply online at by Dec 31, 2021. Successful applicants will provide a strong cover letter, resume, statement of research interests, and two letters of recommendation.

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ASEF podcast #1


For those of you interested in the musings of three professional Slovenian astronomers working in the United States (one of them yours truly), here's a link.

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1st PHOEBE workshop at Villanova!


The PHOEBE team is excited to announce the very first annual PHOEBE workshop! The workshop will take place on June 18-22, 2018, at Villanova. Registration is free, lunches will be covered, and affordable accommodation will be offered to participants on campus. For more information on the workshop please see the PHOEBE workshop page; for more information on PHOEBE itself please visit the PHOEBE homepage.

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The distribution of orbital periods and eccentricities for close solar-type stars


Conference: The Impact of Binaries on Stellar Evolution
Location: Garching, Germany, July 3-7, 2017

To download the poster in high resolution png format, please click here.

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Announcing Hotwired 5 to be hosted at Villanova


Hot-wiring the Transient Universe is a series of meetings to explore the opportunities and challenges of massively parallel time domain surveys coupled with rapid coordinated multi-wavelength follow-up observations. The interdisciplinary agenda include future and ongoing science investigations, information infrastructure for publishing observations in real time, novel data science to classify events, and systems to optimize follow-up campaigns. Time domain astronomy is at the fore of modern astrophysics and crosses fields from solar physics and solar system objects, through stellar variability, to explosive phenomena at galactic and cosmological distances. Recent rapid progress by instruments in space and on the ground has been toward a continuous record of the electromagnetic sky with ever increasing coverage, sensitivity, and temporal resolution. With the advent of gravitational wave and neutrino observatories, we are witnessing the birth of multi-messenger astronomy. More information on Hotwired 5 can be found here.

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Postdoctoral position in computational astrophysics


Position Summary

Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences invites applications for a Mendel Science Experience Post-doctoral Fellow within the Department of Astrophysics and Planetary Science, in our research group. The Fellows program is designed to enhance the College’s teaching of science to non-science majors and to foster the professional research development of recent PhD recipients on a career path leading to faculty positions. The position begins in the Fall of 2016. Further information about the department can be found here.

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Water? Who needs water if you got super-critical CO2!


A recent study recapped in this story hints at a possibility of super-critical carbon dioxide playing a role of water. In short, super-critical CO2 is a special aggregate state of CO2 at high temperatures and high pressures where it attains fluid properties while still in gaseous form, and becomes particularly well suited for organic compound hosting. A good read for all of you interested in possibilities of life outside our planet!

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Nebular theory tested before our eyes!


In the Life in the Universe course, we talk about the Nebular theory and how it explains the formation of planets. Today, the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) team unveiled an image of a planet-forming disk around a young star HL Tauri. Hopefully that provides further credibility to my students when thinking of the origin of our own solar system. For more details see the official press release.

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The Learning Myth


I hate to come across righteous or patronizing, but I think this needs to be said. Somewhat frequently I am reminded by the students that I am too demanding and, especially for the Arts majors in science, that the students are struggling beyond what is "expected". My usual rhetoric is to say that my criteria are a reflection of respect: I believe in my students, given that they are the intellectual centerfold of our future, and the more highly I regard them, the more I expect of them. Here is another take at making the same point, from a completely different perspective (and my hands are clean on this one): The Learning Myth.

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