Welcome to the Research Page of Ryan J. Oelkers


Ryan J. Oelkers, Ph.D.

TESS Postdoctoral Fellow and Data Science Fellow at Vanderbilt University

Ryan J. Oelkers at Vanderbilt University
The Astronomy Group at Vanderbilt University

Office: Stevenson Science Center 6907D
Email: ryan.j.oelkers@vanderbilt.edu
Cell: 267-261-9337


Education

BS: Pure and Applied Mathematics, Stevens Institute of Technology, May 2009
MS: Engineering Science and Applied Mathematics, Northwestern University, June 2010
MS: Physics, Texas A&M University, May 2015
PhD: Physics, Texas A&M University, May 2016

I am formerly a graduate student in Astronomy at Texas A&M University advised under Dr. Lucas M. Macri. I am currently the TESS postdoctoral fellow at Vanderbilt University advised under Dr. Keivan G. Stassun. I also work closely with the APOGEE-2 target selection team and coordinate field design and targeting for the northern part of the survey. You can find my current CV here.

During my academic career I have had the privilege to work with many international collaborators including:

  • Argentine National Observatory and Bosque Alegre Astrophysical Station, Argentina
  • Inter University Campus for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), India
  • Department of Astronomy and Space Science, Nanjing University, China


  • Research Interests

    Here is a link to my work on the ADS.



    The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS)

    TESS will be conducting a nearly all-sky photometric survey over two years, with a core mission goal to discover small transiting exoplanets orbiting nearby bright stars. It will obtain 30-minute cadence observations of all objects in the TESS fields of view, along with 2-minute cadence observations of 200,000 to 400,000 selected stars. The choice of which stars to observe at the 2-min cadence is driven by the need to detect small transiting planets, which leads to the selection of primarily bright, cool dwarfs. Our team has developed a target selection catalog, the TESS Input Catalog (TIC), assembled assembled through various other large scale databases and algorithms. We have also developed a ranking system for all stars in the sky according to the smallest transiting planet detectable, and assemble a Candidate Target List (CTL) using that ranking. The TIC is available on the STScI MAST server, and an enhanced CTL is available through the Filtergraph data visualization portal system at http://filtergraph.vanderbilt.edu/tess_ctl.

     



    GAMBLES

    The SLoWPoKES I & II catalogs provided the largest and most complete sample of low-mass, wide binary pairs, creating a test bedfor the formation and evolution scenarios of multiple star systems. In the Gaia Assorted Mass Binaries Long Excluded from SloWPoKES (GAMBLES) catalog we helped to extend this SLoWPoKES to the high mass regime. The catalog identifies 18,660 statistically significant pairs, of assorted mass, with typical separations between 0.002-1.5 pc using the published distances and proper motions from the Tycho-Gaia Astrometric Solution and Sloan Digital Sky Survey photometry. We find the distribution of binary separations is clearly bimodal between low mass pairs, corroborating the finding from SloWPoKES and suggesting multiple pathways for the formation and dissipation of the widest binaries in the Galaxy. The data set has been publicly accessible through the Filtergraph portal here.



    AggieCam

    The AggieCam is a 5 cm telescope deployed to the Bosque Alegre Astrophysical Station. The goal of the telescope is to observe young stellar associations in e search for young "Hot Jupiters" and pre-main sequence binary stars. The project is currently in the follow up phase of 7 Hot Jupiter candidates and 300+ binary candidates. Example light curves of 3 Hot Jupiter candidates and 3 pre-main sequence binary candidates is shown to the right. The camera was recently pictured on APOD (09/22/2015)! It is the diamond shaped object in the center of the frame.




    Chinese Small Telescope ARray (CSTAR)

    The Chinese Small Telescope ARray (CSTAR) was deployed to Antarctica for the winters of 2008, 2009 and 2010. I developed a difference imaging pipeline to compensate for the strange point spread function. We detected over 200+ variable stars and searched 2 years of data for transient events. An example eclipsing binary light curve is shown to the right.


    Publications

    First Author

  • Variability Properties of 4 Million Sources in the TESS Input Catalog Observed with the Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescope, Oelkers R. J. et al. 2017, submitted
  • Gaia Assorted Mass Binaries Long Excluded from SLoPoKES (GAMBLES): Identifying Wide Binary Pairs with Components of Diverse Mass, Oelkers, R J., et al., 2017, AJ, 153, 259
  • A Wide-Field Search for Transiting Hot Jupiters and Eclisping Pre-Main-Sequence Binaries in Young Stellar Associations, Oelkers, R J., et al. 2016, AJ, 152, 75
  • Stellar Variability and Flare Rates from Dome A Antarctica with 2009 and 2010 CSTAR Observations, Oelkers, R. J., et al. 2016, AJ, 151, 166
  • Difference Image Analysis of Defocused Observations with CSTAR, Oelkers, R. J., et al., AJ, 2015, 149, 50

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    Second & Third Author

  • Identification of Young Stellar Variables with KELT for K2 II: The Upper Scorpius Association, Ansdell, M., Oelkers, R. J. et al. 2017, accepted to MNRAS
  • The TESS Input Catalog and Candidate Target List, Stassun K. G., Oelkers R. J., et al. 2017
  • KELT-18b: Puffy Planet, Hot Host, Probably Perturbed, McLeod, K. K., Rodriguez, J. E., Oelkers, R. J., et al. 2017, AJ, 153, 263
  • Identification of Young Stellar Variables with KELT for K2 I: Campaign 13 Taurus, Rodriguez, J. E., Ansdell, M., Oelkers, R. J. et al. 2017, accepted to ApJ
  • Annular Coated Inclusion model and applications for polymer nanocomposites - Part II: Cylindrical inclusions, Wang Z., Oelkers R.J., Lee K.C., Fisher F. T., 2016, Mechanics of Materials, 101, 50
  • Annular Coated Inclusion model and applications for polymer nanocomposites - Part I: Spherical inclusions, Wang Z., Oelkers R.J., Lee K.C., Fisher F. T., 2016, Mechanics of Materials, 101, 170

  • Co-Author

  • Target Selection for the SDSS-IV APOGEE-2 Survey, Zasowski, G. et al. including Oelkers R. J. 2017 submitted
  • The Fourteenth Data Release of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey: First Spectroscopic Data from the extended Baryon Oscillation Sky Survey and from the second phase of the Apache Point Observatory Galactic Evolution Experiment, Abolfathi, B. et al, including Oelkers R. J., 2017, submitted
  • KELT-20b: A giant planet with a period of P~ 3.5 days transiting the V~ 7.6 early A star HD 185603, Lund M. et al., including Oelkers R. J., 2017, submitted
  • Sloan Digital Sky Survey IV: Mapping the Milky Way, Nearby Galaxies, and the Distant Universe, Blanton M. et al. including Oelkers R. J., 2017, AJ, 154, 28
  • GW150914: First Search for the Electromagnetic Counterpart of a Gravitational-wave Event by the TOROS Collaboration, Diaz, M. C. et al. including Oelkers, R. J., ApJ, 828, 16
  • Localization and broadband follow-up of the gravitational-wave transient GW150914 , Abbott, B. P....including Oelkers, R. J., et al., submitted to ApJL, 2016
  • KELT-6b: A P~7.9 d Hot Saturn Transiting a Metal-Poor Star with a Long-Period Companion, Collins, Karen....including Oelkers, R. J., et al., AJ, 2014, 147, 39C

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    Non-Refereed

  • An Input Catalog and Target Selection for the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, Oelkers, R.J., et al. 2017, IEEE, 
  • A Wide Angle Search for Hot Jupiters and Pre-Main Sequence Binaries in Young Stellar Associations, Oelkers, Ryan J., et al. 2015, IAUS, 314, 70

  • Poster Presentations

  • A Wide Angle Search for Hot Jupiters and Pre-Main Sequence Binaries in Young Stellar Associatons, R.J. Oelkers, et al. (2015). Frank N. Bash Symposia, Oct 19 - Oct 21, Atlanta, GA.
  • A Wide Angle Search for Hot Jupiters and Pre-Main Sequence Binaries in Young Stellar Associatons, R.J. Oelkers, et al. (2015). IAU Symposia on Young Stars and Planets (314), May 11-May 15, Atlanta, GA.
  • Difference Image Analysis of Defocused 2009 CSTAR Observations, R. J. Oelkers, et al., (2014) American Astronomical Society, January 5 - January 9, Washington DC.
  • Difference Image Analysis of 2009 CSTAR Observations from Dome A in Antarctica, R. J. Oelkers, et al. (2013) American Astronomical Society, January 6 - January 10, Long Beach, CA.
  • The Statistical Significance of Planetary Transit and Occultation Detections from Dome A in Antarctica R.J. Oelkers, D.L. DePoy, (2012) American Astronomical Society, January 8 - January 12, Austin, TX.
  • Microstructure and crystalliation behavior of Polyvinylidene flouride (PVDF) nanocomposites prepared using coprecipitation technique G. Mago, R. Oelkers, D.M. Kalyon, and F.T. Fisher (2008). ASME International Mechanical Engineering Conference and Exposition, October 31 - November 6, Boston, MA.

  • Invited and Contributed Talks

  • TESS Science Team Meeting, "The TESS Input Catalog", Boston, MA, December 8, 2016
  • Solar and Stellar Astronomy Big Data, IEEE Meeting, "The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite", Washington, DC, December 5, 2016
  • American Association of Variable Star Observers, "The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite", Burlington, Massachusetts, November 11, 2016
  • Vanderbilt University, "The Precision Analysis of Time-Series Photometry", Nashville, Tennessee, March 25, 2016
  • American Astronomical Society Meeting - Dissertation Talk, "A Wide Angle Search for Hot Jupiters and Pre-Main Sequence Binaries in Young Stellar Associations", Kissimmee, Florida, January 6, 2016
  • University of Texas - ISM Seminar, "A Wide Angle Search for Hot Jupiters and Pre-Main Sequence Binaries in Young Stellar Associations", Austin, Texas, November 20, 2015
  • Mitchell Workshop on Variable Stars and Transients, "Wide Angle Searches for Astrophysical Transients and Variable Stars with Small Aperture Telescopes", Magnolia, Texas, June 18, 2015
  • Workshop on Variability of Astronomical Sources, "Stellar Photometry with Small Aperture Telescopes", Delhi, India, January 15, 2015
  • 2014 APS Meeting, "Time Series Photometry with Small Aperture Telescopes", College Station, Texas, October 19, 2014
  • Institute of Experimental and Theoretical Astronomy Colloquium, "A Wide-Angle Search for Hot Jupiters and Pre-Main Sequence Binaries in Young Stellar Associations", Cordoba, Argentina, May 13, 2014
  • Workshop on Variability of Astronomical Sources, "Difference Image Analysis with Small Aperture Telescopes," Kerala, India, January 23, 2014
  • Brazos Valley Astronomy Club, "Reduction of Time-Series Photometry from Small Aperture Telescopes," College Station, TX, October 18, 2013
  • TOROS Workshop, "The Reduction of Time-Series Photometry from Small Aperture Telescopes," Salta, Argentina, June 28, 2013
  • Brazos Valley Astronomy Club, "East Asian and Pacific Summer Institute 2012 China," College Station, TX, October 19, 2012
  • NFSC Young Scientist Forum, "Comparing Pictures of the Night Sky to Find Planets Eclipsing Stars," Beijing, China, August 2, 2012
  • Texas A&M Astronomy Symposium, Various Titles, 2011-2015

  • Teaching

    If you would like to visit my teaching website you can find it here.

  • Adjunct Lecturer, Nashville State Community College, ASTR-1010: Solar System Astronomy, Summer 2017 
  • Guest Lecturer, University of Cordoba, Argentina, June 2014 - October 2014 
  • Guest Lecturer, Texas A&M University, ASTR 111, 314, 401: Fall 2010, Spring 2011 & Spring 2015
  • Instructor, Texas A&M University, ASTR 102: Summer 2011 - Spring 2013
  • Teaching Assistant, Texas A&M University, ASTR 111: Fall 2010 - Spring 2011
  • Test Review Lecturer, Stevens Institute of Technology, MA 115, 116 & 227: May 2008 - May 2009