In 2021, Michael completed his undergraduate degree in Honours Cooperative Physics and Astronomy at the University of Waterloo. The following summer, he worked as a Trottier intern under Dr. Jason Rowe with the objective of developing software that would determine eta-Earth, this being the frequency of Earth analogues, which are habitable zone Earth-sized planets orbiting Sun-like stars. Photometric observations from NASA’s Kepler mission are analyzed to assess the full Bayesian probability of candidate transit detections by utilizing nested sampling and modelling the coloured noise as a Gaussian process, with and without the inclusion of a transit model.
As a Master’s student at Bishop’s University under Dr. Rowe, Michael will deploy this software on a short list of the most promising Earth analogue candidates, publish results, and apply for the best of these to receive priority for follow-up observations from JWST/HST. He then plans to develop a machine learning network to efficiently perform this analysis on the entire Kepler dataset, using training sets produced with the software outlined above.