John Monnier is an expert in optical/infrared interferometry and is the instrumentalist responsible for MIRC (the Michigan Infrared Combiner), a beam combiner that allows all six of the telescopes at Georgia State University’s CHARA Array to work together. He is interested in the direct detection of exoplanets and in studying how planets form in circumstellar disks. To do this, he plans to use not only his CHARA technologies, but also Magellan adaptive optics to measure disks around young stars and the ALMA radio interferometer to image the outer disks with high resolution.
Monnier’s group was the first to combine four or more telescopes in the infrared, allowing them to move from simple modeling of astronomical sources to reconstructing actual high-precision images with milliarcsecond resolution. They were the first to image the surfaces of main-sequence stars other than the Sun, including rapid rotators and very close binaries. He’s now using this technology to study magnetically active stars to test theories of stellar dynamo and magnetism.
For more information on Monnier’s instrumentation projects, see the CHARA page.
BS, Purdue University; PhD, UC/Berkeley; Fellow, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics; At-Large Member, European Southern Observatory Scientific Technical Committee.
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