Ashley Villar astronomer


We recently submitted a new paper to the Astrophysical Journal which presents detailed simualtions of Type I superluminous supernovae obseved with the upcoming Large Synoptic Survey Telescope. We fit the light curves of 58 known SLSNe at z~0.1-1.6, using an analytical magnetar spin-down model implemented in MOSFiT. We then use the posterior di... Read more


NSF season is upon us! The National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (NSF GRFP) was the only fellowship I applied to in '13 (although there are many great ones!), so I'll try to give some insight into the application process. One of the most useful webpages I used while applying was a blog post by Alex Lang. He outlines the proce... Read more

NSF GRFP: Advice and Essays

Note: I originally posted a version of this in 2014 on another blog which I have since deleted. The National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (NSF GRFP) is a graduate fellowship with three years of funding. There are a ton of in-depth online resources about the application process (for example, check out these Astrobites posts), ... Read more

Detecting GW170817 with Spitzer

We recently submitted a new paper to Astrophysical Letters which presents Spitzer Space Telescope observations of GW170817 at late times. We downloaded publicly available Spitzer infrared data taken 43 and 74 days after the merger at 3.6 and 4.5 microns. We reduced this data using standard methods, but we found that it was incredibly difficult... Read more

Introduction to Transient Light Curve Models

Light curves of transients (like supernovae and kilonovae) are a powerful tool for understanding the underlying astrophysics of eruptions, explosions and collisions of stars. With a few simplifying assumptions, we can create analytical models of these events which are in good agreement with observations. First Law of Thermodynamics To model tr... Read more