PRELUDE

Hello! I’m a third-year undergraduate at the University of Chicago pursuing a B.S. in computer science with a specialization human computer interaction and a minor in physics. My research interests include exoplanet imaging, adaptive optics, and space-based sustainability. After I graduate UChicago in June 2025, I plan to enter the industry in the optical sciences or in engineering for a few years before applying to graduate school to pursue a Ph.D. in the Optical Sciences.

I am deeply committed to sustainability and education. My belief is rooted in the idea that every child deserves access to high-quality education, and I am dedicated to ensuring that my work actively contributes to making the world a better place to live in. Outside of computer science and physics, I also love circus arts, photography, tennis, and electric circuit building.

Research

The Asteroseismic Detection Limits of Ground-Based Transient Surveys

pulsating_star
Asteroseismology is the study of internal structures of stars through their pulsations. M-giant star are much cooler and larger than our sun; the special thing about M-giants is their luminosity pulsates with long periods, spanning up to multiple months, and with large changes in luminosity. [Image courtesy AsteroSTEP Outreach]

Problem: It is typical practice to use space-based telescopes like TESS and Kepler in asteroseismology. However, when looking at specifically M-giant stars, space-based telescopes have some inherent drawbacks: (1) field-of-view is restricted, (2) observation baseline might be too short.

My Proposed Solution: I worked with Professor Daniel Huber at the University of Hawai`i Institute for Astronomy to see if we could detect these oscillations in M-giants with ground-based transient surveys, consisting of a field-of-view of the entire night sky with observation baselines of at least 2 years. Using the All Sky Automated Survey for SuperNovae (ASAS-SN) telescope, I found that ASAS-SN can retrieve these pulsations for M-giants with frequencies below 1 µHz within the 9th mag to 13th mag in the Gaia band. With this, ASAS-SN can characterize distances for ~5 million M-giants.
ASAS-SN Characterization



Characterizing Deformable Mirror AO3k with NAOJ

Imagine swimming underwater and looking up at the clouds. From this perspective, the clouds are distorted and moving rapidly. The same concept applies for stars and our atmosphere: stars twinkle due to variations in atmosphere refractions. These abberations make it difficult to precisely image extrasolar objects. Adaptive Optics (AO) is a subfield of astronomy instrumentation aims to reduce these abberations. It involves a Deformable Mirror (DM) that has several actuators within its mirror that shifts the wave front to fix the image distortions. [Image courtesy ALPAO]

The National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) Subaru Telescope has an instrument that works to reduce abberations in order to image exoplanets called Subaru Coronographic Extreme Adaptive Optics (SCExAO). SCExAO's current DM has 188 actuators that are capable of deforming the wave front. However, we are in the process of integrating a new 3224-actuator DM from ALPAO called the AO3k.

I worked with Dr. Olivier Guyon and Dr. Julien Lozi to characterize the movement of each actuator in the AO3k.
dm_wf I found three unexpected behaviors with the AO3k inclusing unresponsive actuators, uneven actuator response, and eleveted actuator response around the mirror edge. I presented these findings to ALPAO and we sent the AO3k back to France for repairs in these behaviors.
A paper on the opto-mechanical design, integration and lab tests of the AO3k and additional improvements on SCExAO will be submitted to SPIE in June 2024.

passions

Circus Arts

I am passionate about performing in shows with Le Vorris and Vox (LVV) Circus. My specializations are partner acrobatics and the lyra.

pink

I teach classes with my acro partner, Fabrizio Ferro, for LVV Circus. I am current the President of LVV Circus in which I direct and write shows and am the liason between the University of Chicago and LVV.

If you're interested in taking classes in Silks, Bar Aerials, Contortion, or Partner Acrobatics, please reach out to me at aliciamchun@uchicago.edu with an email header of "Interest in LVV Circus Classes".
We also have quarterly performances and are open to having new performers join our circus. Likewise, reach out to me with the header of "Interest in Performing with LVV Circus".


...more to come

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