Laird Close

Professor, Astronomy

Astronomer, Steward Observatory

Member of the Graduate Faculty

Laird specializes in novel astronomical observations utilizing new adaptive optics instrumentation. He is utilizing adaptive optics (which removes the blurring effects of the Earth's atmosphere) to study at very high resolution: exoplanets, low-mass stars, and brown dwarfs. As well he is interested in massive old AGB stars, young planets in the process of forming, & solar system objects like Titan and binary asteroids. He has been involved in the development of several adaptive optics systems and special high-contrast high resolution infrared cameras. He is the head scientist (PI) of the Magellan Adaptive Secondary AO system in Chile. He is the lead Optical and Mechanical scientist for the extreme AO system MagAO-X (used at the 6.5m Magellan Telescope) and GMagAO-X instrument (designed for the future 25m Giant Magellan Telescope). He is the PI of the MaxProtoPlanetS survey for the direct detection of the youngest exoplanets with adaptive optics at H-alpha. This a key MagAO-X survey. He has been the chair of the Adaptive Optics SPIE conference in 2018 and co-Chair in 2014 and 2016. These are the largest AO conferences in the world. A rare binary asteroid (a double minor planet #25015) is named "(25015) Lairdclose" after him.

Offering Research Opportunities?


Prerequisite Courses

some knowledge of basic optics desirable.

Majors Considered

Optical Engineering, Astronomy, Physics

Types of Opportunities

Description of Opportunity

No description given

Start Date

August 2017

Primary Department

Affiliated Departments

Research Location