I investigate the death omens, deaths, and afterlives of stars. I use a robotic telescope at Palomar Observatory to hunt for these explosions, and when I find one I trigger telescopes all over the Earth and in outer space to watch it unfold. My goal is to learn how the deaths of stars give rise to the elements that make up our world, as well as to the most extreme objects in the known universe: neutron stars and black holes.
Space itself is inspiring because it is vast and yet accessible---with our telescopes on Earth, we're able to "see" stars die in distant galaxies, and collect photons from the edge of the universe. However, I think I'm most inspired by the human endeavor to explore space. For all of human history, we have been curious about the universe, and it's inspiring to me that we have been able to make so much progress, generation by generation. It's a quest that unites people across time and across the world!
My friends and family, and the Caltech community.
A comet, so that I could travel through the solar system!
Anna with the 200-inch Hale Telescope at Palomar Observatory!