"I WAS SHOCKED AT THE
ACCESS I HAD TO THE
WORLD’S BEST TELESCOPES;
I SPENT SOMETHING LIKE
100 NIGHTS AT MAGELLAN."
- MATT WALKER, PHD ‘07
Graduate students often can’t believe they receive “privileged access” to the world-class telescopes in which U-M is a partner. This means PhD students have priority over faculty, postdocs, and research scientists in observing for their thesis.
U-M’s access to the Southern Sky is through our partnership in the twin 6.5-meter Magellan Telescopes in Chile. U-M’s 10% share in this premier facility means students can undertake projects with long timelines and numerous targets. More than half of our PhD students from the last 10 years have done work here.
In addition, students interested in instrumentation can work with Professor Mario Mateo, who has just completed a major upgrade to his ground-breaking fiber spectrograph at Magellan. His original instrument yielded a 100-fold increase in the number of targets that could be sampled at a given time, and his new version is even more powerful, flexible, and efficient. As the major sky surveys generate new detections, Mateo’s spectrograph is well-positioned to follow up on their chemistry, temperature, and velocity and to search for and analyze exoplanets.
U-M is also a partner in the MDM Observatory at Kitt Peak, Arizona. Its 2.4- and 1.3-meter telescopes are equipped with an array of optical and infrared instruments, making it useful as both a research and training platform. U-M’s portal to the Northern Sky, MDM offers a strong complement to research at Magellan in areas from galaxy clusters to star formation.