Nathaniel R. Ross

Lick Observatory Domes

Current Research

My current research is focused on studying star formation and AGN in the WISP Survey (PI Malkan, UCLA). The WISP Survey is a pure-parallel observing program on the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), meaning when someone else is observing using one of the spectrographs on HST, we turn on Wide Field Camera 3 to obtain imaging and spectroscopy of a parallel field. We utilize the infrared grisms on WFC3 to obtain deep, continuous, low-resolution, near-IR spectra of 0.5 < z < 2.5 galaxies (a regime that is very difficult to study from the ground), spanning the peak epoch of star formation in the universe. Preliminary results of this project have been published ApJ and the full WISPS dataset will eventually be made available to the public. The WISPS team has been awarded more than 1000 additional pure-parallel orbits on HST in Cycles 18 through 21 to more than quadruple the coverage and sample of our survey. Stay tuned for more news and updates!The location of WISP fields on the night sky. Mollweide Projection.

In addition, I have begun a campaign to spectroscopically map nearby AGN host galaxies from the 12-micron Seyfert sample. We are using the 3-m Shane telescope at Lick observatory (the large dome pictured above) to map the galaxies using the Kast spectrograph. For a list of my publications, please see my ADS page.

Past Research

My undergraduate thesis work, studying the host-galaxy properties of a gravitationally lensed quasar, was conducted under the guidance of Prof. Chris Kochanek at OSU. This work was presented at the OSU Denman and Math and Physical Sciences Undergraduate Research Forums in 2008, at the latter of which it was awarded a prize for best poster. This work was published in the September, 2009 edition of the Astrophysical Journal.