I specialize in making and analyzing high-resolution maps from large astronomical survey data sets. Much of my work has focused 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. I also play a key role in several wide-area optical imaging surveys, particularly DECaLS and MzLS.
I'm currently a staff astronomer at NSF's NOIRLab in Tucson, Arizona, where I previously spent a year as a NASA Hubble Fellow. At NOIRLab, I am a member of Rubin Observatory's Community Science Team (CST). 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, "big data", high performance computing, 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 have also discussed my research during a number of radio and television appearances.
Newsweek : What's your moonshot? Aaron Meisner and Backyard Worlds Want to Discover Our Solar System's Ninth Planet
CNN : Citizen scientists help discover 95 brown dwarfs that are neighbors of our sun
CBC Radio One : Amateur astronomers use the 'mark one eyeball' to find brown dwarf stars
NASA Feature : Citizen Scientists Help Create 3D Map of Cosmic Neighborhood
BBC : Backyard Worlds: One hundred new 'cool worlds' discovered
KGUN9 Tucson : Astronomers are trying to measure the effects of dark energy on the expansion of the universe
Berkeley News : UC Berkeley, NASA looking for citizen scientists to help find Planet 9
Scientific American : Looking for Planet Nine, Astronomers Gaze into the Abyss
NASA Feature : 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 150,000 citizen scientists have contributed to our total of more than 10 million Backyard Worlds classifications. These contributors include residents of all 50 US states and 167 countries. Backyard Worlds now counts 79,000 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