Gopal Narayanan

Research Professor
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gopal@astro.umass.edu

Address: 

University of Massachusetts Department of Astronomy LGRT-B 628 710 North Pleasant Street Amherst, MA 01003-9305

Phone Number: 

413-545-0925

Fax: 

413-545-4223

Research Interests: 

My research interests can be divided into two main themes -
instrumentation and science. On the instrumentation side, I have been
heavily involved in the heterodyne (spectroscopic) instrument
portfolio of the LMT. We have built the Redshift Search Receiver (an
innovative broadband 3mm wavelength receiver for identifying redshifts
of early galaxies), SEQUOIA (a 3mm wavelength 16-pixel focal plane
array receiver for spectroscopy), a 1mm receiver for Event Horizon
Telescope (EHT) observations and 1mm wavelength spectroscopy and WARES
(an array spectrometer system attached to our frontends for computing
spectra). All these instruments are working at the LMT. We are also
working on funded instruments for a 1mm focal plane array (OMAyA), a
dual-frequency receiver for ngEHT (next-gen EHT), and ideas for a
novel new phased array for 3mm wavelength. All these instruments are
heavily driven by spectroscopic science. With retired professor, Neal
Erickson, I manage the heterodyne receiver laboratory where we build
these innovative spectroscopic instruments. I also work on a variety
of software tools and packages for data acquisition and analysis from
our suite of instruments. Our lab features a lot of hands-on work by
graduate and undergraduate students.

One of my abiding scientific interests is in the area of star
formation and molecular cloud studies. Some of this work has been done
with Prof. Ron Snell. I am interested in the various physical
processes and phenomenology of star formation, and have had many
students work with me on these science topics. We have delved into
various topics in star formation such as parsec-scale outflows,
triggered star formation, and the disentangling of kinematic
signatures in embedded star-forming regions by use of novel spectral
analysis techniques.

I also serve as the PI of UMass/LMT efforts towards the EHT. The EHT
is an earth-spanning array of millimeter/submillimeter wave telescopes
that come together to image super-massive black holes (SMBHs) at event
horizon scales. Our work on the first image of the M87 SMBH resulted
in us winning the Breakthrough Prize for Fundamental Physics (sometimes
referred to as the Oscars of Science) in 2019. Our group is now moving
on to the the challenges of making movies of time-variable phenomena
around SMBHs with the next generation EHT (ngEHT) - such observations
promise to open new doors into fundamental physics. I am looking for
students interested in working on various aspects of EHT -
instrumentation, theory, simulations, calibration, and data analysis.