Bruno Merín

Astronomer

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Welcome to my homepage !

I am the Head of the ESAC Science Data Centre of the European Space Agency (ESA) at ESAC, near Madrid, Spain.
My work-related interests are:

  • the data from ESA’s Space Science missions
  • scientific software and data science
  • archival and data-driven research
  • usability of user interfaces
  • citizen science projects

 

 


 

 

Here you can learn about my science results
and interests, and also contact me.

My scientific interests are:

  • Star and planet formation, disk evolution
  • Exoplanets : formation and evolution in the Galaxy
  • Infrared and multi-wavelength astronomy
  • machine learning and computational bayesian statistics
  • Space data science

 

 

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Bruno Merín’s Curriculum Vitae


LAEFF

LAEFF

I finished my Physics degree in the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid on June 1998, with a specialization in Theoretical Physics. After that, I joined LAEFF (“Laboratorio de Astrofisica Espacial y Fisica Fundamental”) of INTA, the Spanish National Technical Institute for Aerospace, where I did my Master and Ph.D. Thesis under the supervision of Prof. Benjamin Montesinos and Prof. Carlos Eiroa. The subject of my Ph.D. thesis was to study the evolution of the circumstellar disks around intermediate mass stars, the so-called Herbig Ae/Be stars, using data from the simultaneous multi-wavelength and multi-telescope EXPORT International Program at La Palma observatory, led by Prof. Carlos Eiroa, from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. The goal of this research was to analyze close-to-simultaneous optical to near-IR photometry and optical spectroscopy of moderately large sample of intermediate-mass Herbig Ae/Be stars to get information about the dissipation mechanisms of their disks, which could potentially give information about their potential to form exo-planets.

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Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrosphysics

Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrosphysics

I defended my Ph.D. Thesis at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid on March 2004. During my Ph.D. Thesis I was lucky enough to travel to Morelia, Mexico, to have a collaboration with Dr. Paola D’Alessio, a world-known expert in the physics of protoplanetary disks and author of one of the best numerical models to physically reproduce the observations of such type of objects. After that experience, I was then invited by Profs. Nuria Calvet and Lee Hartman to the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, in Cambridge, Massachusetts (USA) to make what it was at the time the first public grid of circumstellar disk numerical models offered to the community for scientific analysis of the Spectral Energy Distributions of such objets. These two stages gave me a good visibility of how the cutting-edge science is done in the International context.

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Fundación Ramón Areces

Fundación Ramón Areces

I was awarded my first postdoctoral fellowship by the Fundación Ramón Areces, in Spain, to come to the Leiden Observatory, in the Netherlands, to work with Prof. Ewine F. van Dishoeck (Leiden Sterrewacht, Leiden University) in the analysis of the Spitzer data from the large “Cores 2 Disks” Legacy program, led by Prof. Neal J. Evans, from the University of Texas at Austin (USA). During this period of time, I had the chance to learn about the data analysis of the images and spectra from the Spitzer Space Telescope and to observe at several world-class ground-based telescopes like the William Herschel and Isaak Newton Telescopes in La Palma Observatory (Spain) or the Very Large Telescopes at Paranal Observatory (Chile) of the European Southern Observatory (ESO). I was lucky enough to even obtain open time with NASA’s competitive Spitzer Telescope to observe with the IRS spectrograph on-board Spitzer, a sample of c2d-selected transitional disk candidates in nearby star-forming regions. These transitional disks show signs of having evacuated inner holes in their disks, which are signposts of possible currently on-going planet formation.

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Leiden observatory

Leiden observatory

After two years at Leiden observatory, I obtained an ESA Research Fellowship to work with Dr. Timo Prusti at the Research and Scientific Support Department of ESTEC, from the European Space Agency, at Noordwijk, in the Netherlands, and continued to work closely with the Leiden and c2d team members, given the proximity of ESTEC and Leiden. During that time, I also got involved in the testing team of the Mid Infrared Instrument MIRI for the James Webb Space Telescope, which took place at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, near Oxford in the UK, and participated in the definition of the test plan for the Verification and Flight Models of the instrument. During this period, I also was co-director of the Ph.D. Thesis of Isa Oliveira, together with Prof. Ewine van Dishoeck and Dr. Klaus M. Pontoppidan, and member of ESO’s Observing Program Committee for two calls.

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Herschel Science Center

Herschel Science Center

In October 2008 I joined the Herschel Science Centre, the science operations center of the Herschel Space Observatory, located at the European Space Astronomy Centre (ESAC) of the European Space Agency, near Madrid, in Spain. Here I was Data Processing scientist and chair of the Data Processing Users’ Group, a body that coordinated the user input and fed it back into the development plan for the Herschel data reduction software, called HIPE.

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ESAC Science Data Center (ESDC)

ESAC Science Data Center (ESDC)

In July 2015 I became Astronomy Archives Science Lead at the ESAC Science Data Centre. My work in this group was to try to maximize the scientific use of ESA’s Astronomy science data archives and to contribute to the creation of new modern ways of exploiting that precious space science data. Back then I was also the Product Owner of the ESASky portal.

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ESAC Science Data Centre (ESDC)

ESAC Science Data Centre (ESDC)

Since March 2018 I am the head of the ESAC Science Data Centre, in charge of developing and operating the science mission archives for all ESA science missions, including Heliophysics, Planetary and Astronomy missions.

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Publications and publication statistics

I am coauthor of 119 refereed papers, which have been cited in another 5,365 papers. My H-factor is 46 and I am coauthor of one of the top-10 most cited papers in Astronomy in 2010, the Spitzer “cores to disks” c2d summary paper by Evans et al. 2009.

See my profiles also in these well-known publication indexing services:

Referee and committee work

Outreach / Media

Since I joined ESA, I have participated in a numerous outreach initiatives, aimed at sharing the fascination of doing astronomy and space science nowadays with the general public. You can find me on Twitter and on LinkedIn.

Here you have a very incomplete list of outreach events I have participated to recently:

Some of these collaborations have been done in Spanish and amount to two articles in the top-audience general newspaper “El País”:

And some participations in Radio programs, both at the Radio Círculo and at Radio Exterior from Radio Nacional de España:

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The study of disk evolution

The study of disk evolution
De-noising HST images with U-Nets

Machine learning on archives
Finding asteroid trails in HST data with AutoML

Machine learning on archives
New hot-Jupiter candidates found around young stars in 25 Ori with PTF

The exoplanet revolution
Following-up interesting planet candidates from Antarctica

The exoplanet revolution
The exoplanet revolution

The exoplanet revolution
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Research group

There is a good number of scientists working at ESAC who study star- and planet formation and on their connection with newly discovered exoplanet populations. The environment favors the interaction with planetary scientists involved in ESA’s mission to planets and other bodies of the Solar System and with Data Scientists interested in applying modern Machine Learning techniques to the wealth of high quality scientific data in our Science Data Archives. If you fit any of those groups and are interested to work with us, please, do consider applying!!

Trainees, Master and/or Ph.D. students and post-docs:

  • Want to join us? Check here for applying to an ESA Research Fellowship (Deadline in the fall) or here for applying for an ESAC Science Traineeship (Deadline in the fall).

Current collaborators:

Current Ph.D. students that I supervise:

  • Antónia Vojteková, Shared Ph.D. student at UCL and at ESA on Sub-Neptune characterisation with CHEOPS and on the application of graphical neural networks and ExplainableIA to the simplication of the physical-chemical modeling of exoplanet atmospheres from new observations. She is based at ESAC, in Madrid.
  • Patricio Yael Reller, Shared Ph.D. student in UCL and ESA on Sub-Neptune characterisation with CHEOPS and ASTEP data and on Machine Learning applications to the light-curve analysis of exoplanet transit observations, in preparation for the PLATO mission. He is currently based at France.
  • Pablo García Martín, engineering lead at SAFRAN, France, and Ph.D. student at UAM (Spain) on Automatic identification of asteroids and satellite trails on HST images with AutoML, in Google cloud.
  • Fabrizio Giordano, senior software engineer at the European Space Astronomy Centre and Ph.D. student at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM) in FITS-On-Web advanced visualisation technology for Astronomical data, in Madrid.

Former ESA Research Fellows, Ph.D. students, Young Graduate Trainees and science trainees in our group:

Other remote and/or former collaborators include:

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