As ESA/AURA Astronomer for JWST/NIRSpec

Since October 2020 I am a ESA/AURA Astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute. I am working on the preparation of the commissioning of the NIRSpec spectrograph onboard of the James Webb Space Telescope, that will be launch at the end of 2021. The instrument has ~250,000  shutters that allow to perform spectroscopy of over 100 sources simultaneously. It has an integral field unit (IFU) with 3×3 arcsecFOV, and five fixed slits, for high-contrast long-slit spectroscopy (SLIT mode). NIRSpec will be the first spectrograph in space that has this capability. The instrument operates in the wavelength range 0.6-5.3 micron, with a spectral resolutions of 100, 1000, and 2700.

As Staff Astronomer at W. M. Keck Observatory

Between January 2019 and October 2020, I was a Staff Astronomer for the W. M. Keck Observatory, installed at the top of Mauna Kea (Big Island, Hawaii). As a Staff Astronomer, my duty was to provide support to other astronomers during their observations, to optimise their observation time, troubleshoot any instrumental or software problems that might prevent observations, and advise observers on the most optimal observation strategies. I supported MOSFIRE, LRIS and HIRES. MOSFIRE is a near-infrared multi-object spectrograph install at the cassegrain focus of the Keck I telescope. The most important characteristic of MOSFIRE is that it can observe up to 46 objects using a unique cryogenic robotic slit mask system that is reconfigurable electronically in under 5 minutes. LRIS is a multi-object spectrograph and imager in optical, with a blue and red camera that allow simultaneous observations. Finally, HIRES is a echelle spectrograph in the optical that provides a spectral resolution 25,000-85,000, that has a blue and a red configuration for the bluer or redder wavelengths in the optical.

EMIR commissioning


EMIR is a wide-field camera and a multi-object intermediate resolution near-infrared spectrograph (0.9-2.5 microns) for the GTC telescope in La Palma. EMIR  offer several observing modes: imaging mode and multi-object spectroscopy mode. In the imaging mode, the instrument provides a field of view of 6′ x 6′ with a pixel scale of 0.2″/pixel in ZJHK bands. In the multi-object mode, EMIR will be able to obtain spectrum of around 50 objects simultaniously, with a spectral resolution of 4000 in ZJH bands and 3500 in the K-band. The EMIR project is led and developed by the IAC, in collaboration with the Laboratoir d’Astrophysique-Observatoire Midi-Pyrenees (France), the Laboratoire d’Astrophysique-Observatoire de Marselle (France) and the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. As a part of the group of verification scientists of EMIR, I performed scientific tests at different integration stages under cryogenic conditions, following a guideline to ensure the complete functionality of the instrument by the moment it was shipped to La Palma in May 2016. Before the instrument was fully availble for the scientist community, I participated as a member of the EMIR group in the commisioning and installation of the instrument in the GTC telescope. During the first commissioning, the basic observing steps were tested: acquisition, nodding, configuring the instrument, selecting guide stars, etc. Once these basic steps were performed reliably, different observation modes and functionalities were tested.

Details on EMIR commissioning

SPIE paper of the commissioning

EMIR webpage