2023 Plaskett medal: Dr. Deborah Lokhorst

CASCA is pleased to announce Dr. Deborah Lokhorst as the recipient of the 2023 J.S. Plaskett Medal for the most outstanding doctoral thesis in astronomy or astrophysics.

Dr. Lokhorst received her PhD in 2022 under the supervision of Dr. Roberto Abraham at the University of Toronto, and she is now a Herzberg Instrument Science Fellow at NRC Herzberg Astronomy & Astrophysics Research Centre. Her thesis titled “Ultra-Narrowband Imaging with the Dragonfly Telephoto Array: Toward the Cosmic Web” is a tour-de-force combining theory, observation, and instrumentation. Dr. Lokhorst played a central role in the construction and scientific exploitation of the Dragonfly Telephoto Array, opening a new window on the ‘low surface brightness Universe’. Her thesis work began with an analysis of hydrodynamical simulations to understand the observational limits needed to directly detect ‘invisible’ gas in the circumgalactic medium (CGM) around nearby galaxies. She then designed, machined, and assembled the prototype of a new component of the Dragonfly Telephoto Array, the ‘Filter-Tilter’, to allow the required limits to be achieved. She finally obtained the first scientific observations taken by a pathfinder Dragonfly narrowband imager, discovering a giant ionized gas cloud in the CGM of the starburst galaxy M82.

CASCA is delighted to recognize Dr. Lokhorst’s achievements with this award.

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