What do you do as part of DESI (both generally and day-to-day activities)?
I have developed the auto-guiding system, an algorithm that analyzes the stars in the field and provides corrections to the telescope, driving it to the exact target location and stabilizing the telescope motors in that precise sky position during the entire exposure. This system is key to ensure the light from the target galaxies fall into each of the 5000 fibers. Any mispositioning or tracking error would prevent the light entering into those tiny fiber holes, decreasing the spectra signal-to-noise, reducing the survey efficiency and causing contamination from other sources. I have been part of the commissioning of all three of the following instruments: ProtoDESI, Commissioning Instrument and finally DESI. After many nights of tests at the Mayall telescope, we managed to reach the tight requirements on guiding accuracy and tracking.
Where were you born? Where do you live now? What are the interesting places that standout that your work has taken you to?
I was born in Barcelona and continue to live and work here. Thanks to projects like DESI, I had the opportunity to visit the most outstanding observatories on earth, such as El Roque de los Muchachos in the Canary Islands, the Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory in Chile and of course, DESI’s home, Kitt Peak National Observatory in the US. Astronomers and people working in observatories have something special and always lead to interesting conversations during the long nights of observation.
What would you say is the most interesting or exciting thing about your job?
The fact that with our algorithm we can move the Mayall telescope weighting 375 tons with a precision of a few milliarcseconds is really awesome!
Any advice for aspiring scientists?
Bring your own and risky ideas. Common and logical things have already been done and we won’t discover anything new with the things we know.
Finally, what do you do for fun?
When I had less kids at home I used to make films and build drones. Now I am playing with them and looking forward to build more things together once they grow.