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Paolo Turri

Postdoctoral Researcher


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Research Interests

I am a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Astronomy at the University of California in Berkeley, and my interests lay at the intersection between instrumentation and science, with the development of successful observational tools and strategies to contribute to exciting new discoveries.

I began to study astronomical instrumentation and adaptive optics during my bachelor and master degrees in Italy. I have earned the PhD in astronomy at the University of Victoria with a thesis on multi-conjugate adaptive optics (MCAO) instrumentation and science. I have worked at NRC Herzberg with the team of NFIRAOS, the MCAO module of the Thirty Meter Telescope, aligning and calibrating the test-bench for assessing the algorithms that will be used on sky. In Victoria, I have also observed several Galactic globular clusters using GeMS on Gemini South, the only MCAO system currently on sky. I have used those data both to study the stellar populations and to provide the most accurate analysis of the instrument's performance.

I am currently working at the University of California in Berkeley with Prof. Jessica Lu on the analysis of images of the Galactic Center taken with the NIRC2 camera on Keck using adaptive optics. I am testing a new profile-fitting software for stellar astrometry and photometry that applies for the first time on scientific data the technique of point-spread function reconstruction.

Astronomical observations greatly benefit from a deep knowledge of the instruments used to take data with, in order to accurately separate the instrumental signature from the signal of the astrophysical sources. Unfortunately, observational astronomers often do not have the time or the intimate knowledge of the instrument to write the software appropriate for the data reduction and they have to turn to general-purpose tools. This is true in particular for astrometry, photometry and spectroscopy using adaptive optics, where the most used programs and practices were developed for seeing-limited observations and not tailored for complex point-spread functions and geometrical distortions.


I was born in Italy, where I graduated in Astronomy at the University of Padova (BSc) and at the University of Trieste (Msc). I moved to Canada for my PhD at the University of Victoria, and now I am at the University of California in Berkeley for my first postdoctoral appointment.