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Christopher O’Connor

Astronomy & Space Sciences


I am a third-year graduate student, working with Prof. Dong Lai on the dynamical evolution of planetary systems. Thus far, the focus of my research has been the dynamical and physical processes that affect planets around red giants and white dwarfs. We aim to understand the fates of planets and systems that have been discovered across the Milky Way galaxy by, for instance, the Kepler and TESS missions (not to mention that of the Solar System).

I hold a bachelor’s degree in astrophysics from the University of California, Los Angeles, where I conducted research on planetary formation and dynamics with Profs. Brad Hansen and Smadar Naoz. I also worked for a summer in Prof. Andrea Ghez's group, searching for variable stars in the vicinity of Sagittarius A*, the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way.

In my spare time, I enjoy playing the clarinet and saxophone as well as board games and Dungeons & Dragons. I also like to participate in public outreach, like answering questions for Ask an Astronomer.


  • Astronomy


Advisor: Professor Dong Lai