I specialize in making and analyzing full-sky, high-resolution maps from large astronomical data sets. Much of my work focuses on processing infrared images from NASA's NEOWISE mission, repurposing this vast asteroid-hunting data set for astrophysics beyond the inner solar system. I am using NEOWISE data to search for cold nearby worlds, including brown dwarfs in the solar neighborhood, wide substellar companions, and the hypothesized Planet Nine. Through several wide-area optical imaging surveys I also play a key role in enabling target selection for the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI).
I'm currently a NASA Hubble Fellow at NOAO. I earned a Ph.D. in physics from Harvard University in 2015. Before that I was an undergraduate at Stanford University, where I received a B.S. in physics in 2010.
My work, particularly in relation to citizen science and Planet Nine, has been widely featured in local, national and international media. A partial list of articles quoting or mentioning me by name is provided below. I was also interviewed for a TV segment on San Francisco's KPIX5 (CBS), and radio segments on Bay Area stations KGO and KCBS.
Scientific American : Looking for Planet Nine, Astronomers Gaze into the Abyss
nasa.gov : NASA-funded Website Lets Public Search for New Nearby Worlds
Berkeley Lab : Attention Earthlings: Help Wanted in Finding a New Planet
USA Today : NASA wants you - to find a missing planet
Daily Cal: Two UC Berkeley Researchers Recognized in Forbes '30 Under 30 in Science' List
HubbleSite : NASA Awards Prestigious Postdoctoral Fellowships
Die Welt : Jeder soll bei der Jagd auf Planet Neun mithelfen
I co-founded Backyard Worlds: Planet 9, a Zooniverse project consisting of an all-sky crowdsourced motion search built around my time-resolved WISE/NEOWISE coadds. Since launching in February 2017, over 100,000 citizen scientists have contributed to our total of more than 5.5 million classifications. These contributors include residents of all 50 US states and 167 countries. Backyard Worlds now counts 53,000 registered users, and has benefited enormously from the enthusiasm and dedication of our diverse group of volunteers, some of whom have gone on to receive media recognition for their participation. Four citizen scientists are co-authors on the project's first peer-reviewed publication.
Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center Conceptual Image Lab/Krystofer D.J. Kim