Roberto Abraham awarded 2023 Jackson-Gwilt Medal
University of Toronto Astronomy Professor Roberto Abraham has been awarded the 2023 Jackson-Gwilt Medal by the Royal Astronomical Society, for his innovative work with the Dragonfly Telephoto Array.
Abraham is a professor and chair of the David A. Dunlap department of astronomy and astrophysics in the Faculty of Arts & Science, as well as an associate at the Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics. He shares the award with Professor Pieter van Dokkum of Yale University, his co-principal investigator.
The Dragonfly Telephoto Array is an innovative optical design that uses clusters of Canon lenses. The design and filters minimize stray light, which helps it to achieve an unpreceded sensitivity to low surface brightness features.
Abraham and van Dokkum, along with their research teams, began designing the telescope in 2013, starting with just three Canon lenses. Dragonfly now has 78 lenses and is expected to expand to 168 lenses within the next year. The professors’ work has contributed greatly to investigations of galaxy evolution, and shedding light on the nature of dark matter.
“It is a tremendous honour to receive this award,” says Abraham. “Previous honourees include some of my astronomical heroes, stretching back over a hundred years. It’s especially cool to be awarded the same medal that Clyde Tombaugh got for discovering Pluto – I don’t care what anybody says, that thing is still a planet in my book!”