Sebastien Lepine is a research fellow in the Astrophysics Department at the American Museum of Natural History, where he has been working since April 2000. He holds a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Montreal, where he graduated in 1998. A "cartographer of the Galaxy", he is now devoting much of his research efforts in the search for nearby stars; his goal is to obtain a most complete and accurate map of the stars located within 100 parsecs (300 light-years) of the Sun. His most notable effort is the SUPERBLINK survey, an all-sky survey of stars with large proper motions.
The nearby stars are a starting point to a wide range of research topics in astrophysics. Dr. Lepine is particularly interested in the kinematics (motions) of the nearby stars, which are used to infer the structure, dynamics, and history of our Galaxy. He is also an expert in the identification and classification of class of stars (known as "subdwarfs") which roam the Solar Neighborhood at very high speeds, are deficient in chemical elements other than hydrogen and helium, and are believed to be some of the oldest stars in our Galaxy. The nearby stars are also prime targets in the search for extra-solar planets, using both radial velocity surveys, transits (eclipses), and direct imaging techniques.
Dr. Lepine spends 30 to 40 nights per year carrying astronomical observations with various large telescopes. He is a frequent user of the 2.4-meter Hiltner and 1.3-meter McGraw-Hill telescopes ofMDM Observatory, located on the southwest ridge of Kitt Peak, 50 miles west of Tucson, AZ. Sebastien also uses the Shane 3.0-meter telescope on top of Mount Hamilton, east of San Jose CA, and part of the University of California Observatories network. He is also regularly awarded nights to use the Mayall 4-meter telescope of the Kitt Peak National Observatory.
Dr. Lepine's research is currently funded by grants from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and from the National Science Foundation (NSF).