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Faculty Profiles

Batcheldor, Daniel

Head, Aerospace, Physics and Space Sciences

My research started with supermassive black holes whose masses can reach billions of solar masses. They have been detected at, or near, the centers of galaxies. How galaxies form and evolve is one of the greatest open questions still remaining in contemporary astrophysics; do they coalesce from giant clouds of gas, or via huge cosmic collisions? Similarly, do supermassive black holes get their huge masses from the accretion of gas that produces the quasar and active galaxy phenomena, by merging with one another, or a mixture of the two? This research has been mainly funded by the Space Telescope Science Institute and was carried out using the Hubble Space Telescope. It led to the discovery of a supermassive black hole that may have been kicked by merger driven gravitational waves, and that is now ringing around the center of the galaxy M87, and the demonstration of an intrinsic selection effect when ranking which supermassive black hole masses to estimate.

I have also been conducting research into the next generation of imaging devices that are theoretically capable of imaging Earth-like planets around other stars. This research started with a small grant from the American Astronomical Society to fund a special camera for our campus telescope. This has seeded further funding from the Mt. Cuba Foundation and we have taken one of these cameras to our telescope on the Canary Islands where the observing conditions are much better than Florida. In addition, this camera was selected by CASIS to fly on the International Space Station in 2017. After over 6-months attached to the NanoRacks External Platform this camera is now qualified to fly on future space missions.

Most recently I have been conducting research on the usefulness of Martian regolith for supporting the colonization of the red planet. Getting to, and staying on, Mars is a huge challenge, but these attempts are fundamental to the exploratory nature of the human race. There are also the science questions about the paucity of life, developmental questions about the future evolution of the human race, and societal questions about driving technological development and bringing the world together. Until we can determine how useful the in situ resources are on Mars, we won't really know how to much equipment and how many supplies to take. If we are forced to take everything then missions to Mars will be incredibly expensive and very risky.

Personal Overview

The majority of my research requires spatial resolutions and sensitivities that are unobtainable on the ground. Consequently, I have become a frequent user of the Hubble Space Telescope, and have performed an on-orbit re-calibration of the NICMOS instrument to allow 2 micron imaging polarimetry at a level of one percent. However, working with members of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, I have shown that Hubble is reaching its limit in terms of answering the remaining, and varied, questions regarding supermassive black holes. This has precipitated my active involvement with the development of the next generation of space-based detectors that are likely to be used on-board the space-based telescopes of the future. The ongoing developments in the human exploration of space is also part of my research. The next great human adventure will be on Mars. 

Educational Background

BSc (Hons) Astronomy University of Hertfordshire 2001
Ph.D. Astrophysics University of Hertfordshire 2004

Current Courses

Physics 1 - Newtonian Dynamics

Physics 2 - Electricity & Magnetism

Physics Review - Supplemental physics for select transfer students

Physics & Space Sciences Seminar

Observational Astronomy - Lecture-lab covering the celestial sphere and optical observations of stars to quasars.

Methods and Instrumentation - Telescope Optics, solid state detectors, data reduction techniques.

Astrophysics 1 - The Nature of Stars (undergraduate)

Astrophysics 2 - Galaxies and the Universe (undergraduate)

Astrophysics 2 - Cosmology & Large Scale Structures, Active Galactic Nuclei, Galactic Dynamics (graduate)

In Situ Resource Utilization - Special topics class taught with KSC Swampworks on the usefulness of resources in space. 

Senior Seminar - Preparing seniors for graduation and life beyond university.

Professional Experience

Head. Department of Aerospace, Physics and Space Sciences, Florida Institute of Technology (2018+).

Professor. Department of Aerospace, Physics and Space Sciences, Florida Institute of Technology (2018+).

Head. Department of Physics and Space Sciences, Florida Institute of Technology (2014-2018).

Professor. Department of Physics and Space Sciences, Florida Institute of Technology (2016-2018).

Associate Professor. Department of Physics and Space Sciences, Florida Institute of Technology (2014-2016).

Assistant Professor. Department of Physics and Space Sciences, Florida Institute of Technology (2010-2014).

Director, Jacobus Kapteyn Telescope, Southeastern Association for Research in Astronomy (2014+).

Director, Olin Observatory. Department of Physics and Space Sciences, Florida Institute of Technology (2010-2017).

Associate Research Scientist. Center for Imaging Science, Rochester Institute of Technology (2008-2009).

Adjunct Professor. Department of Physics, Rochester Institute of Technology (2008-2009).

Assistant Research Scientist. Center for Imaging Science, Rochester Institute of Technology (2006-2008).

Post-doctoral Research Associate. Department of Physics, Rochester Institute of Technology (2005-2006).

Post-doctoral Research Associate. School of Physics, Astronomy and Mathematics, University of Hertfordshire (2005).

Support Astronomer. Isaac Newton Group, La Palma (1999-2000).

Additional Duties

Director, Jacobus Kapteyn Telescope.

Teaching Council member.

Undergraduate Curriculum Committee PSS representative (2012-2015).

Southeastern Associate for Research in Astronomy (SARA) Board member.

Student Astronomical Society Advisor (2010-2018).

Secular Student Alliance at Florida Tech, founder and Advisor.

Public Science Lecture Series coordinator.

Astronomy & Astrophysics program contact.

Coach, FIT Rugby.

Current Research

Extreme Contrast Ratio Imaging of Bright Star Fields

Development and Deployment of a Charge Injection Device on the International Space Station

Development of a 700 cu.ft Martian atmospheric simluation chamber

Previous Research

Reverberation Mapping of the size of the Dusty Tori in Active Galactic Nuclei - Spitzer Proposal ID #80120

The importance warm outflows in the most rapidly evolving galaxies in the local Universe -HST-GO-12934

Where do Black Holes get their kicks? - HST-AR-11771

Dynamical Hypermassive Black Hole Masses - HST-GO-11606

An ACS Treasury Survey of the Coma cluster of galaxies - HST-GO-10861

Resolving the Critical Ambiguities of the M-Sigma Relation - HST-AR-10935

The NICMOS Polarimetric Calibration - HST-GO-10839

The nuclear scattering geometry of Seyfert galaxies - HST-GO-10160


Selected Publications

Batcheldor, D at ADS
Batcheldor, D at Astro-ph

Batcheldor, D. et al. 2020PASP...132...1011 Charge Injection Device Performance in Low-Earth Orbit

Batcheldor, D. et al. 2020AAS...23515003B Direct High Contrast Ratio Imaging with Charge Injection Devices

Schindler, M. et al. 2019GeCoA.264...43S A nanoscale study of the formation of Fe-(hydr)oxides in a volcanic regolith: Implications for the understanding of soil forming processes on Earth and Mars

Tadhunter, C. et al. 2019MNRAS.488.1813T Quantifying the AGN-driven outflows in ULIRGs (QUADROS) IV: HST/STIS spectroscopy of the sub-kpc warm outflow in F14394+5332

Palotai, Cs. et al. 2019MNRAS.487.2307P Analysis of June 2, 2016 bolide event

Tadhunter, C. et al. 2018MNRAS...478...2...1558T Quantifying the AGN-driven outflows in ULIRGs (QUADROS) II: evidence for compact outflow regions from HST [OIII] imaging observations

Cannon, K. et al. 2017AGUFM.P31A2803C Developing a High Fidelity Martian Soil Simulant Based on MSL Measurements: Applications for Habitability, Exploration, and In-Situ Resource Utilization

Keel, W. et al. 2017PASP...129a...5002K. The Remote Observatories of the Southeastern Association for Research in Astronomy (SARA).

Graham, A. et al. 2016ApJ...819...43G. A Normal Supermassive Black Hole in NGC 1277.

Batcheldor, D. et al. 2016PASP...128b...5001BExtreme Contrast Ratio Imaging of Sirius with a Charge Injection Device.

Vazquez, B. et al. 2015ApJ...801..127VSpitzer Space Telescope Measurements of Dust Reverberation Lags in the Seyfert 1 Galaxy NGC 6418.

Lena, D. et al. 2014ApJ...795..146LRecoiling Supermassive Black Holes: A Search in the Nearby Universe.

Rodríguez Zaurín, J. et al. 2014A&A...571A...57RExtended warm gas in the ULIRG Mrk273: Galactic outflows and tidal debris.

Ramírez, E. A. et al. 2014MNRAS...444...466RNear-infrared Hubble Space Telescope polarimetry of a complete sample of narrow-line radio galaxies.

Bosh, A. et al. 2013DPS...45...40401BThe State of Pluto's Atmosphere in 2012-2013.

Batcheldor, D. et al. 2013AJ...146...67B. An STIS Atlas of Ca II Triplet Absorption Line Kinematics in Galactic Nuclei.

Batcheldor, D. et al. 2011ASPC..449...44BHigh Accuracy Imaging Polarimetry with NICMOS.

Batcheldor, D. et al. 2011ApJ...738...90BNICMOS Polarimetry of "Polar-scattered" Seyfert 1 Galaxies.

Hammer, D. et al. 2010ApJS, 191, 143HThe HST/ACS Coma Cluster Survey. II. Data Description and Source Catalogs.

Batcheldor, D. et al. 2010, ApJ, 717, L6. A Displaced Supermassive Black Hole in M87.

Batcheldor, D. 2010, ApJ, 711, L108. The M-Sigma Relation Derived from Sphere of Influence Arguments.

Batcheldor. D.; Koekemoer, A. M. 2009, PASP, v121, i885, pp.1245. The Future of Direct Supermassive Black Hole Mass Estimates.

Ramrez, E. et al. 2009, MNRAS, v339, i4, pp.2165. The nature of the near-infrared core source in 3C 433.

Batcheldor, D. et al. 2009, PASP, v121, i876, pp.153. High Accuracy Near-infrared Imaging Polarimetry with NICMOS.

Koekemoer, A. M. et al. Astro2010: The Astronomy and Astrophysics Decadal Survey, Science White Papers, no. 157. Tracing the Mass Buildup of Supermassive Black Holes and their Host Galaxies.

Batcheldor, D. Memorie della Societa Astronomica Italiana, v.79, p.1239 (2008). The M-Sigma Project.

Carter, D. et al. 2008, ApJS, v176, i2, pp.425. The Hubble Space Telescope Advanced Camera for Surveys Coma Cluster Survey. I. Survey Objectives and Design.

Batcheldor, D. et al. 2007, ApJ, v663, i2, pp.L85. How Special Are Brightest Cluster Galaxies? The Impact of Near-Infrared Luminosities on Scaling Relations for BCGs.

Pastorini, G. et al. 2007, A&A, v469, i2, pp.405. Supermassive black holes in the Sbc spiral galaxies NGC 3310, NGC 4303 and NGC 4258.

Batcheldor, D. et al. 2007, ApJ, v661, i2, pp.70. Dominant Nuclear Outflow Driving Mechanisms in Powerful Radio Galaxies.

Batcheldor, D. et al. 2006, PASP, v118, i842, pp.642. The NICMOS Polarimetric Calibration.

Merritt, D. et al. 2006, MNRAS, v367, i4, pp.1746. The nature of the HE0450-2958 system.

Batcheldor, D. et al. 2005, ApJS, v160, i1, pp.76. Integral Field Spectroscopy of 23 Spiral Bulges.

Hughes, M. A. et al. 2005, AJ, v130, i1, pp.73. Nuclear Properties of Nearby Spiral Galaxies from Hubble Space Telescope NICMOS Imaging and STIS Spectroscopy.

Atkinson, J. W. 2005, MNRAS, v359, i2, pp.504. Supermassive black hole mass measurements for NGC 1300 and 2748 based on Hubble Space Telescope emission-line gas kinematics.

Hughes, M. A. et al. 2004, IAUS, No.222, p.181. Nuclear clusters, bulges and massive black holes in spiral galaxies.

Batcheldor, D. et al. 2004, IAUS, No.222, p.73. Host bulge properties: The key to SMBH mass estimates?

Scarlata, C. et al. 2004, AJ, v128, i3, pp.1124. Nuclear Properties of a Sample of Nearby Spiral Galaxies from Hubble Space Telescope STIS Imaging.

Hughes, M. A. et al. 2003, AJ, v126, i2, pp.742. An Atlas of Hubble Space Telescope Spectra and Images of Nearby Spiral Galaxies.

Marconi, A. et al. 2003, ApJ, v586, i2, pp.868. Is There Really a Black Hole at the Center of NGC 4041? Constraints from Gas Kinematics.