Meredith A. MacGregor
NSF Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Interests

Debris disks; Circumstellar disk structure and evolution; Planetary system formation; Radio interferometry; Aperture synthesis techniques

Academics

B.A., Astronomy and Astrophysics, Physics, Harvard University (2011)
M.A., Astronomy and Astrophysics, Harvard University (2013)
Ph.D., Astronomy and Astrophysics (2017)

 

Contact & Links

Overview

Composite image of the Fomalhaut star system. The ALMA data, shown in orange, reveal the distant and eccentric debris disk in never-before-seen detail. The central dot is the unresolved emission from the star, which is about twice the mass of our sun. Optical data from the Hubble Space Telescope is in blue; the dark region is a coronagraphic mask, which filtered out the otherwise overwhelming light of the central star. Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), M. MacGregor; NASA/ESA Hubble, P. Kalas; B. Saxton (NRAO/AUI/NSF)

MacGregor was awarded an NSF Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellowship to pursue a program of research and education at the Carnegie's  Department of Terrestrial Magnetism. At DTM, she conducts an in-depth study of debris disks as probes of planetary system evolution by leveraging the multi-wavelength capabilities that the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) interferometer and NASA's James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) will provide.

With ALMA, MacGregor will perform a comparative study of debris disk structure around nearby stars, allowing her to address the basic dynamical processes that control the evolution of debris disks and their interactions with planets. Combining observations from both ALMA and JWST will allow her to examine radial variations in grain composition within disks, identify connections between grain composition and gas content, and search for possible evidence of dynamical evolution.