Katelyn Horstman

Katelyn Horstman

Grad student in the Division of Physics, Math and Astronomy

Hometown: El Dorado Hills, CA

Date of this Interview: January 16, 2023

What do you research?

My research focuses on near-infrared instrumentation and exoplanet science. Currently, I am working on a project to search for exomoons around exoplanets by combining two planet detection techniques: high-contrast imaging and the radial velocity method. We use high contrast imaging to block out the light from the central star to reveal the planet. Then, we use a high resolution spectrograph to perform spectroscopy on the planet directly, looking for variations in the radial velocity time series of the planet that may correspond to a moon tugging on the planet with its gravity.

Why does space inspire you?

Space inspires me because it is a giant laboratory that can be used to study physical sciences on almost unimaginably large scales.

If you could instantly travel to any point in the universe, where would you choose to go?

I would travel to Jupiter to see the planet and its four Galilean moons.

Where can you be found when you’re not conducting research?

When I am not conducting research, you can find me hiking, skiing, or in a boba shop!

What book do you wish you could read for the first time again?

One book series I wish I could read for the first time again is the Parable Series by Octavia E. Butler. This series imagines a dystopian world much like 1984 by George Orwell, but also includes space exploration and the colonization of planets outside our solar system as a central plot point.

Katelyn posing with an optical spectrograph she built.

Katelyn posing with an optical spectrograph she built.