Tyler McCracken earned his Ph.D.from New Mexico Tech where he worked fringe-tracking for the interferometer at Magedelena Ridge Observatory. He is now a postdoc in Dr. Debra Fischer's exoplanet group at Yale, developing a wavelength calibration technique based on a Fabry-Perot cavity locked to a stabilized laser. This approach offers advantages over other methods: it produces a broadband, comb-like output from 400 - 700 nm that is difficult to achieve with a laser frequency comb; by injecting into the science fibers before and after observations, weak stellar signals are not obliterated; and by locking the laser to an atomic transition, the spectrum is repeatable to 1 part in 10e-11.
It’s terribly hard to find exoplanets that look like our homeworld. The search requires development of astoundingly powerful and precise instruments. That’s the job Debra Fischer and her team have taken on.