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S. Mark Ammons

Portrait of  S. Mark Ammons

  • Title
    Research Staff
  • Email
    ammons1@llnl.gov
  • Phone
    (925) 422-2102

Research Interests

I build adaptive optics systems, which astronomers use on large telescopes to directly image planets outside of our solar system, study our galaxy’s supermassive black hole, and understand the stellar makeup of distant galaxies. The Gemini Planet Imager, the most advanced fielded system dedicated to characterizing exoplanets and planet forming disks, has discovered 51 Eri b and set new records in adaptive optics performance. I also integrated a first-of-its-kind Multi-Object Adaptive Optics testbed for Extremely Large Telescopes at UC Santa Cruz in 2008.

Ph.D. Astronomy & Astrophysics, University of California at Santa Cruz, 2009

B.S. Physics, Duke University, 2003

  1. Ammons SM, Garcia EV, Salama M, Neichel B, Lu J, Marois C, Macintosh B, Savransky, D, Bendek E, Guyon O, Marin E, Garrel V, Sivo G. (2016) Precision astrometry with adaptive optics: Constraints on the mutual orbit of Luhman 16AB from GeMS. Proceedings of the SPIE. 9909:5T link.
  2. Konopacky Q, et al. (2016) Discovery of a Substellar Companion to the Nearby Debris Disk Host HR 2562. The Astrophysical Journal Letters. 829:4 link.
  3. De Rosa RJ, et al. (2015) Astrometric Confirmation and Preliminary Orbital Parameters of the Young Exoplanet 51 Eridani b with the Gemini Planet Imager. The Astrophysical Journal Letters. 814:3 link.
  4. Macintosh B, et al. (2015) Discovery and spectroscopy of the young jovian planet 51 Eri b with the Gemini Planet Imager. Science. 350:64 link
  5. Kalas P, et al. (2015) Direct Imaging of an Asymmetric Debris Disk in the HD 106906 Planetary System. The Astrophysical Journal. 814:32 link
  6. Ammons SM, Wong K, Zabludoff AI, Keeton CR. (2014) Mapping Compound Cosmic Telescopes Containing Multiple Projected Cluster-Scale Halos. The Astrophysical Journal. 781:2 link.
  7. Ammons SM, Bendek E, Guyon O. (2012) Theoretical Limits on Bright Star Astrometry with Multi-Conjugate Adaptive Optics using a Diffractive Pupil. Proceedings of the SPIE. 8447:0P link
  8. Ammons SM, Rosario D, Koo D, Dutton A, Melbourne J, Max CE, Mozena M, Kocevski D, McGrath E, Bouwens R, Magee D. (2011) AGN Unification at z~1: u-R Colors and Gradients in X-ray AGN Hosts. The Astrophysical Journal. 740:3 link
  9. Ammons SM, Johnson L, Laag EA, Kupke R, Bauman BJ, Gavel DT, Max, CE. (2010) Integrated Laboratory Demonstrations of Multi-Object Adaptive Optics on a Simulated 10 Meter Telescope at Visible Wavelengths. Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. 122:573 link.
  10. Ammons SM, Robinson SE, Strader J, Laughlin G, Fischer D, Wolf A. (2006) The N2K Consortium. IV. New Temperatures and Metallicities for More than 100,000 FGK Dwarfs. The Astrophysical Journal. 638:1004 link
  • Lawrence Postdoctoral Fellowship, LLNL, 2011
  • NASA Hubble Postdoctoral Fellowship, Univ. Arizona, 2009
  • Bachmann Instrumentation Fellowship, Santa Cruz, 2007
  • NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, UC Santa Cruz, 2003
  • Regents Fellowship, UC Santa Cruz, 2006
  • Whitford Prize for Outstanding Graduate Performance, UCSC Astrophysics, 2005