About Me

Who Am I?

Hi I'm Cicero X. Lu. I am a science fellow at Gemini (North) Observatory, a part of NSF's NOIRLab. My work includes independent research and observatory support. Previously, I obtained my Ph.D. degree in Astronomy and Astrophysics from Johns Hopkins University under the supervision of Dr. Christine Chen.

My main research interests are in planet formation, debris disks, and exoplanets. One questions that gets me out of bed every morning is, `` How do terresterial planets acquire life-essential solids (C, N, O, Si, etc) and volatile (water, gas species) as planetary building blocks during the epoch of planet formation?''. My research programs attempt to investigate this question from multiple angles using ground-based and space-based telescope such as VLT, Gemini, NASA/IRTF and JWST, etc.

I welcome new collaborations. I am very fortunate to have many collaborators who encourage and support me. So I aspire to pay it forward. I have experience in modeling near and mid-infrared spectroscopic and imaging data. I also have experience in applying various machine-learning techniques to astronomical data sets. Feel free to reach out to me if I could be of any help!


Planet Formation

Debris Disks

Machine Learning



Sequencing Dusty Disk Spectra: A Non-Parametric, Systematic Analysis Revealing the Relationships Between Disks and their Host Stars 2021-Current

Debris disks provide exciting opportunities to study planet formation throughout the disk. In exoplanetary debris disks, little is known about whether differentiated (crust and mantle) planetesimals are common in regions close to a star. If a debris disk contains crustal materials, indicating the existence of differentiated planetesimals, then we can understand its planetary evolution stage. The processes in which a star affects its debris disks are also largely unknown. A fundamental question is whether the stello-centric distance to the edge of icy belts, such as the Kuiper belt, is affected by its host star luminosity. The most comprehensive, homogeneous debris disk catalog to-date, the Spitzer IRS debris disk catalog, provides unique laboratories for studying these questions. I will identify the crust-like and mantle-like dust contents in the extrasolar debris disks in the Spitzer IRS debris disk catalog, and investigate the dust properties as a function of the stellar properties, using a non-parametric, systematic tool called Sequencer. The identification and characterization of the mineralogy of the debris disks will provide well-motivated candidates for future JWST studies on planetary evolutions.

Trends in Silicates in the β Pictoris Debris Disk 2019-2021

Main Results: We re-analyze the Spitzer Infrared Spectrograph (IRS) β Pictoris debris disk data and identify a new 18 micron forsterite emission band. We also recover a 23 micron forsterite emission band with a substantially larger line-to-continuum ratio than previously reported. We discover three trends about sub-micron-sized grains in β Pic: as stellocentric distance increases, (1) small silicate grains become more crystalline (less amorphous), (2) they become more irregular in shape, and (3) for crystalline silicate grains, the Fe/Mg ratio decreases. Applying these trends to β pic's planetary architecture, we find that the dust population exterior to the orbits of β pic b and c differs substantially in crystallinity and shape.


SNe in Hierarchical Triple System 2014-2018

Main Results: Proof-of-concept simulations found that black hole and low-mass X-ray binary system with a tertiary companion on wide orbit when inner close binary undergoes supernova(SN), will emit gravitational waves in extremely short timescale before coalescence. A new possible channel to detect GW emissions of this type of systems can be forecasted by the electromagnetic observations for next generation space observatory LISA.

[Paper] [Poster]

Get in Touch


cicero.lu [ AT ] noirlab [ DOT ] edu