Bruce's main focus is the direct detection and characterization of extrasolar planets and the use of adaptive optics technology to control light. Bruce is Principal Investigator for the Gemini Planet Imager (GPI) instrument which was commissioned and saw first light in late 2013. Bruce will lead a 600-star survey to discover and spectroscopically characterize young giant extrasolar planets around nearby stars. A new laboratory will be used for developing exoplanet instrumentation for future ground and space-based telescopes, and applying adaptive optics to other applications such as microscopy. Bruce is also involved in preparations for the proposed exoplanet coronagraph on the WFIRST-AFTA telescope and other approaches to studying extrasolar planets.
Faculty Research Interests
Adaptive Optics and Extrasolar Planet Imaging
Bruce Macintosh's research focusses on the study of extrasolar planets, in particular the study of such planets through direct imaging, and on using adaptive optics to shape the wavefronts of light for a variety of applications. Direct imaging of extrasolar planets involves blocking, suppressing, and subtracting the light of the bright parent star so that a planet hundreds of thousands of times fainter can be seen and studied in detail. Prof. Macintosh is the Principal Investigator of the Gemini Planet Imager http://planetimager.org/ ,an advanced adaptive optics planet-finder for the Gemini South telescope,. He also leads a Science Investigation Team for the coronagraph instrument on the WFIRST mission, focused on imaging and spectroscopy of extrasolar planets.