Ashley Villar astronomer

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

Introduction to ML

About a month ago, I gave the first talk in a new introductory seminar series on machine learning. The talk assumes no knowledge of machine learning, and it covers the basics of data-driven models and neural networks. A link to the video is below ā€“ feel free to contact me with any questions! Please enable JavaScript to view the comments po... Read more

Modeling A Nearby Kilonova

This past month, I have been working hard with my colleagues to understand an exciting new discovery ā€“ the first (definitive!) kilonova. Background Information Kilonovae occur when either two neutron stars or a neutron star and black hole collide. They are thought to be the birth place for many of the heavy elements in our universe, known as t... Read more

An Arduino Supernova

Below is a post originally written by my boyfriend, Alex McCarthy, and I about a cool outreach project we worked on together in mid-May 2017. Last week, we visited a local high school and presented an outreach activity to an astronomy club. We simulated a supernova explosion using an Arduino-powered laser. We covered topics including supernovae... Read more

Fitting Models with MOO

This post summarizes a lecture I have given several times to undergrads and early graduate students on model fitting. I will (hopefully) highlight the flexibility of the fitting process and a simple guide to work through most problems. Iā€™m going to assume a basic understanding of the statistics involved, and my example problem will be in Python.... Read more