About Me

Hello! My name is Chun Ly, and I'm currently a Professional Observer at the MMT Observatory and an Affiliate Assistant Astronomer at Steward Observatory. Previously, I was a NASA Postdoctoral Fellow at the Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), and a Giacconi Fellow at the Space Telescope Science Institute. I completed my Master's and Ph.D. in Astronomy at University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), under Prof. Matthew Malkan's advisorship. Prior to UCLA, I was at University of Arizona and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory where I worked on distant radio galaxies with Drs. Craig Walker, David de Young, and Mike Brotherton, and Prof. Jill Bechtold. You can find my CV here.

Research Interests

My current astronomical research aims to determine how galaxies, such as our own Milky Way, were formed and how they evolved over the past ten billion years. My past work has characterized the stellar population in galaxies. I utilize different empirical techniques to identify star-forming galaxies, and study their stellar and gaseous properties. You can learn more here.

Recent News

September 3, 2016

I am actively recruiting astronomy undergraduate students at the University of Arizona who are interested in conducting independent study research on galaxies. Please contact me directly by e-mail for specifics and availability.

September 1, 2016

Paper I and Paper II of the MACT Survey is now published in the Astrophysical Journal Supplements and the Main Journal, respectively.

June 27, 2016

I am seeking a University of Arizona Astronomy undergraduate student to conduct paid research during the 2016-2017 academic year. For more information, and to apply, please check out the following Google Forms webpage: More Information and Apply Here!

June 24, 2016

My adjunct status at the University of Arizona has been approved. I will have the title of Affiliate Assistant Astronomer at Steward Observatory. This opportunity will allow access to the Large Binocular Telescope, the MMT, and the Magellan telescopes, and I will be able to bring in federal grants as Principal Investigator.

June 19, 2016

My first-authored paper titled "The Metal Abundances across Cosmic Time (MACT) Survey II: Evolution of the Mass–Metallicity Relation over 8 Billion Years, Using [OIII]4363Å-based Metallicities" was accepted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal. The free copy of the paper can be retrieved from the arXiv.

June 7, 2016

My first-authored paper titled "The Metal Abundances across Cosmic Time (MACT) Survey I: Optical Spectroscopy in the Subaru Deep Field" was accepted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series. The free copy of the paper can be retrieved from the arXiv.

May 12, 2016

I have officially accepted a job offer from the MMT Observatory as a Queue Observer for the upcoming Fall. The job will involve me supporting the upcoming queue observing program. I should have a lot of free time to continue my research.

October 26, 2015

My observing proposal titled "The Stellar Population of Metal−Poor Galaxies at z~1" was awarded 16.5 hours on the Spitzer Space Telescope.

June 1, 2015

My observing proposal titled "Understanding the Physical Conditions of Intermediate Redshift Galaxies" was awarded 1 night on the Keck 1 telescope and grant funding ($13,000) by the NASA Keck committee.

May 19, 2015

My first-authored paper titled "Metal-poor, Strongly Star-Forming Galaxies in the DEEP2 Survey: The Relationship between Stellar Mass, Temperature-based Metallicity, and Star Formation Rate" was accepted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal. The free copy of the paper can be retrieved from the arXiv.

April 25, 2015

I participated in NASA's Hubble 25th Anniversary Family Day Event at the Smithsonian's National Air And Space Museum (Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center) in Chantilly, Virgina.

April 20, 2015

A co-authored paper titled "Physical conditions of the interstellar medium in star-forming galaxies at z~1.5" was accepted for publication in the Publications of the Astronomical Society of Japan. The free copy of the paper can be retrieved from the arXiv.

December 8, 2014

(1) A co-authored paper titled "A Critical Look at the Mass-Metallicity-Star Formation Rate Relation in the Local Universe. I. An Improved Analysis Framework and Confounding Systematics" was published in the Astrophysical Journal. The paper examines the local mass-metallicity-SFR relation and explains the conflicting results that is seen in previous studies. It puts forth a non-parametric approach that provides a better examination of this relation, and presents comprehensive re-analysis of previous work. The free copy of the paper can be retrieved from the arXiv.
(2) The proposal titled "Definitive Measurements of the Mass-Metallicity-SFR Relation at z~2.2" was awarded three nights on the 8.2-m Subaru telescope. I am the Science PI for the proposal with Dr. Masao Hayashi (National Astronomical Observatory Japan) as the PI.

December 1, 2014

(1) My observing proposal titled "Definitive Measurements of the Mass-Metallicity-SFR Relation at z=0.25-1" was awarded telescope time (one night) on the Keck 2 telescope and grant funding ($16,000) by the NASA Keck committee.
(2) Also, I am a co-investigator on another Keck observing program (PI: Matthew Malkan) titled "Investigating Galaxy Evolution Processes with Gas Metallicity in Distant Starburst Galaxies" that was granted two nights by the University of California committee. Both programs will study low-mass galaxies and determine the properties of the interstellar gas. It will ultimately investigate if there is a fundamental relationship between three derived physical properties of star-forming galaxies.

October 30, 2014

The paper "The Relationship between Stellar Mass, Gas Metallicity, and Star Formation Rate for Hα-selected Galaxies at z~0.8 from the NewHα Survey" was accepted for publication in the Astronomical Journal. The paper is led by Mithi de los Reyes, a third-year undergraduate student that I mentored during Summer 2013.

October 9, 2014

My NASA Astrophysics Data Analysis Program (ADAP) research proposal titled "Investigating the Evolution of the Mass-Metallicity-SFR Relation at z < 1.6 with Deep GALEX and Spitzer Imaging" is approved after competitive peer-review!

December 17, 2013

A lead-authored paper titled "'Direct' Gas-phase Metallicities, Stellar Properties, and Local Environments of Emission-line Galaxies at Redshifts below 0.90" was published in the Astrophysical Journal. The paper characterizes a rare population of galaxies that we found in the Subaru Deep Field. These galaxies are thought to exist in large numbers during the first few billion years after the Big Bang. Because of observational limitations, we can only find them seven billion years after the Big Bang.

December 1, 2013

(1) My observing proposal titled "Definitive Measurements of the Mass-Metallicity-SFR Relation at z=0.25-1" was awarded telescope time (one night) on the Keck 2 telescope and grant funding ($12,750 by the NASA Keck committee.
(2) Also, I am a co-investigator on another Keck observing program (PI: Matthew Malkan) titled "Investigating Galaxy Evolution Processes with Gas Metallicity in Distant Starburst Galaxies" that was granted one night by the University of California committee. Both programs will study low-mass galaxies and determine the properties of the interstellar gas. It will ultimately investigate if there is a fundamental relationship between three derived physical properties of star-forming galaxies.

Publications

My research has been published in several peer-review journals. You can find my bibliography here.