This cause of exploration and discovery is not an option we choose. It is a desire written in the human heart. We are that part of creation which seeks to understand all creation. We find the best among us, send them forth into unmapped darkness, and pray they will return. They go in peace for all mankind, and all mankind is in their debt.

President G. W. Bush, 2/2003 Columbia space shuttle crew memorial

Gerald Cecil & Burch Field Seminar Students atop C. Pachon, Chile outside SOAR Telescope


Eclipse Aug. 2017 through 400 mm lens from 9800 ft altitude near Alta WY

Here are some of my professional and academic interests

I'm preparing instrumentation and executing science programs for the SOAR telescope remotely

that, as Project Scientist in Tucson, I once spent 4.5 years helping to design.

My students have learned ZEMAX and SolidWorks 3D CAD/CAM design tools, printed parts from those directly on our lab's large volume 3D printer, programmed servo motors, and designed/built surface-mount circuit boards, among other technical activities. We're exploring galaxy structure and dynamical evolution using integral-field spectrometers to analyze and model gas and stellar velocity fields, and ionization conditions.

We've worked on numerical simulations of starburst outflows as part of a NASA-funded Herschel space Observatory program, and observations and models of Galactic (Herbig-Haro) and galaxy (superwind) outflows.

I'm primarily working on diverse parts of the exciting SAMI Galaxy Survey, which is using photonics instrumentation to map a dozen galaxies at once in a total sample of 3200 across the optical spectrum and over the one-degree field of view of the 3.9m Australian Astronomical Telescope (AAT). We are mapping galaxies both in the field and in 8 clusters. Here's an example of some of our QuickLook maps. My interface provides an overview of the SAMI data release 1 on many of these galaxies.. More information is extracted from deeper analysis, including stellar population mix, stellar and dynamical M/L, and chemical abundances. SAMI spans the inner 15-arcsec diameter of galaxies, the sample is at z = 0.050+-0.025

My initial focus has been on gas kinematics/dynamics of bar/oval distortions, some examples of field galaxies and their derived axisymmetric rotation curves

But I'm working hard to learn much about stellar populations and kinematics/dynamics. Here is my talk on SAMI at the South African Astronomical Observatory (11/17/16).

I can be reached at

gerald@thececils.org 919-962-7209 (FAX 919-962-0480)