UCD Team

Prof. Lorraine Hanlon

The Watcher team is led by Prof. Hanlon, Full Professor of Astronomy at UCD. She  worked at the European Space and Technology Research Centre (ESTEC) in the Netherlands as a research fellow for 4 years and was involved in the development of the Optical Monitoring Camera for the ESA INTEGRAL mission. With her colleagues in UCD, and in partnership with Irish industry, she is working on the development of next-generation gamma-ray detector technology. This has led to her involvement in EIRSAT-1, Ireland’s first satellite, for which she is Project Lead.  She is currently scientific advisor to the Irish national delegation for the Science Programme Committee of ESA, Chair of the INTEGRAL Users’ Group and a member of council of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Dr. Sheila McBreen

Sheila McBreen is an Associate Professor in the School of Physics. She completed her PhD in 2004 on the subject of the prompt emission of gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) detected with NASA’s Compton Gamma-ray Space Observatory. After graduation, she worked as a research fellow in the European Space Agency (ESA) in The Netherlands focusing on high-energy observations of extragalactic sources. In 2006, she was awarded a Marie Curie Fellowship from the European Union and moved to the Max Planck Institute for extraterrestrial physics (MPE) in Munich. While at MPE, she joined the Gamma-ray Burst Monitor (GBM) team and continues to be an active team member. The GBM is an instrument on NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. Her interests include gamma-ray bursts, their afterglows and host galaxies, terrestrial gamma-ray flashes and developing instrumentation for  next generation gamma-ray space missions.

Dr. Antonio Martin-Carrillo

Antonio is a lecturer in UCD who studies the prompt and afterglow emission of gamma-ray bursts using space observatories and ground-based telescopes, in particular Watcher. He also studies the timing properties of pulsars and develops software for timing purposes and future missions. Graduated in Fundamental Physics and Astrophysics at the University Complutense Madrid, Spain, he worked at the European Space Astronomy Centre for 1.5 years on the timing calibration of XMM-Newton X-ray space observatory. He then moved to the Space Science group where he did his PhD in GRBs and Pulsars.

David Murphy MSc

David is an Irish Research Council funded PhD student in the UCD Space Science Group and is responsible for running Watcher on a daily (or nightly) basis. He did his undergraduate degree in Physics with Astronomy and Space Science at UCD before doing a Masters with the Space Science Group in 2013-2014. He worked on software for analysing Watcher data (the wonderfully named ‘Pynapple’ pipeline) and oversaw the upgrade of Watcher’s filter system. He is currently studying gamma-ray bursts using Watcher data and working on new technologies that may someday be used in gamma-ray observing spacecraft. David is also the Systems Engineer for EIRSAT-1.

Lána Salmon BSc

Lána is an Irish Research Council funded PhD student in the Space Science group, specialising in gamma-ray bursts and their connection to gravitational waves. She did her BSc in Physics with Astronomy and Space Science in UCD. She plans to use Watcher to make optical follow up observations of gamma-ray bursts and gravitational wave sources discovered by aLIGO/VIRGO.   Lána is an experienced science communicator and as a member of the EIRSAT-1 team her main responsbilities are in outreach and the ground segment.

Emer O Boyle MA

Emer is the co-ordinator of UCD Parity Studios Artist in Residence Programme and a regular collaborator with the Watcher team and the Space Science Group. One product of this collaboration is Personal Space, a website that allows users to explore the night-sky at significant times and places in their lives. She has used Watcher for some of her artistic practice, including imaging of Asteroid 2039, Cecilia Payne-Gapotschkin, which formed part of an exhibition at The Lab Gallery in Dublin.