Hubble Fellow @ MIT
Speaking at SnowCluster 2015 in Utah (March 2015)
New paper reveals dusty, star-forming filaments in Sersic 159-03. Submitted to ApJ here! (Nov 2014)
mcdonald "at" space.mit.edu
Born and raised in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, I received my BSc in Mathematics and Statistics and BScH in Astrophysics at Queen's University. Under the guidance of Stephane Courteau, I completed a near-IR survey of the Virgo cluster for my MSc thesis, titled "The Surface Brightness Distribution of Virgo Cluster Galaxies". This work, split into three separate papers and numerous spinoff projects, in collaboration with Brent Tully at the University of Hawaii, has been published in MNRAS.
Upon completing my MSc, I moved to the University of Maryland where I completed my PhD under the supervision of Sylvain Veilleux. We made use of the brand new Maryland-Magellan Tunable Filter to shed new light on the long-standing mystery of warm, optical filaments in the cool cores of galaxy clusters. The success of this work was due, in large part, to the multi-wavelength nature of the study. We utilitized new and archival data at X-ray, UV, optical, IR and radio energies to paint a complete picture of the multiphase intracluster medium. This work has been published in a series of five papers in the Astrophysical Journal.I am now a Hubble Fellow at the MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Resarch, where I am working with Mark Bautz and the other members of the Chandra ACIS team, along with the South Pole Telescope collaboration, in understanding the evolution of the heating/cooling balance in a sample of SZ-selected galaxy clusters.