Texas Tech University

Michael Fausnaugh, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Department of Physics and Astronomy

Email: Michael.Fausnaugh@ttu.edu

Phone: (806) 834-8669

Office: 107 Science Building

Ph.D., Astronomy, The Ohio State University (2017)

M.S., Astronomy, The Ohio State University (2014)

B.A., History of Math and Science,Philosophy, St. John's College, Santa Fe, NM (2011)

Research Website

Michael Fausnaugh

Research Interests

I am an astronomer working on observational methods and data analysis in Time Domain Astronomy. I also have close ties to NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS).

My research investigates the structure of extragalactic objects using timing experiments. My main expertise is in Supermassive Black Holes and Supernovae.

For Supermassive Black Holes, I study the immediate environments around the black holes and the physics of accretion. I am an expert on the Reverberation Mapping technique, which uses light echoes to probe the matter distributions close to the black holes. I am also leading several observing campaigns to investigate the connection between X-ray and ultraviolet/optical emission in actively accreting black holes. 

For Supernovae, I use time domain observations to investigate the nature of the exploding star and the physics of the explosion. I have used TESS light curves to produce one of the strongest limits to date on the nature of Type Ia supernova progenitor star systems.

Recently, I have expanded my research program to include multimessenger astronomy, hunting for optical counterparts of exotic short-duration transients, gravitational wave sources, and high energy neutrino sources. In the longer term, I am preparing for wide-field, multiwavelength monitoring facilities that will be available in the next 2 to 10 years, with a special emphasis on large data sets (Rubin Observatory LSST,  Roman Space Telescope) and multiwavelength data sets.

Lastly, I lead the TESS Data Analysis Working Group (DAWG). The DAWG is responsible for approving the TESS data products for public release, including transiting planet candidates.

Please contact me by email if you would like to learn more about my research.


Selected Publications

  • 2023. "Four Years of Type Ia Supernovae Observed with TESS: Early-time Light-curve Shapes and Constraints on Companion Interaction Models," M. M. Fausnaugh et al. (12 authors).The Astrophysical Journal, 956:108.
  • 2021. "Early-time Light Curves of Type Ia Supernovae Observed with TESS," M. M. Fausnaugh et al. (22 authors), The Astrophysical Journal, 908:51.
  • 2021. "The TESS Mission Target Selection Procedure," Michael Fausnaugh et al. (64 authors), Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 133:095002.
  • 2018. "Continuum Reverberation Mapping of the Accretion Disks in Two Seyfert 1 Galaxies," M. M. Fausnaugh et al. (72 authors), The Astrophysical Journal, 854:107. 5.
  • 2017. "A New Approach to the Internal Calibration of Reverberation-Mapping Spectra," M. M. Fausnaugh, Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 129:024007. 6.
  • 2016. "Space Telescope and Optical Reverberation Mapping Project. III. Optical Continuum Emission and Broadband Time Delays in NGC 5548," M. M. Fausnaugh et al. (97 authors), The Astrophysical Journal, 821:56.
  • Complete list of publications on ADS
  • CV as a PDF