Ashley Villar astronomer

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

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 – 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 – 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