Dino Chih-Chun Hsu

Postdoctoral Researcher at Northwestern University CIERA
I am an observational astrophysicist studying low-mass stars, brown dwarfs, and gas giant exoplanets using high-resolution spectroscopy.
My research aims at statistically understanding their kinematics, rotation, multiplicity as well as identifying and characterizing interesting benchmark systems (e.g. binaries and abundances), to further constrain the formation and evolution with theoretical models.

About Dino Hsu

Dino Chih-Chun Hsu is a postdoctoral researcher at Northwestern CIERA, working with Prof. Jason Wang. Before arriving at Evanston, northern Chicago, Dino obtained his Ph.D. in Physics at UC San Diego, where he worked with Prof. Adam Burgasser on the kinematics, rotation, and multiplicity using the near-infrared high-resolution spectroscopy including Keck/NIRSPEC and SDSS/APOGEE.

Forward-Modeling Method

I use a Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) forward-modeling method to model the high-resolution spectra and extract precise radial and projected rotational velocities, as well as effective temperatures and surface gravities for hundreds of nearby ultracool dwarfs, also the largest UCD RV and vsini sample in the literature. I named this code SMART, which is one of the most precise modeling codes to extract UCD RVs and vsinis from high-resolution near-infrared spectroscopy, and with SMART I found the shortest orbital period UCD binary (P=0.71 day) to date, LP 413-53AB (Hsu et al. 2023). I jumped so high when I made this discovery!

Ultracool Dwarf Kinematics

Space motions of celestial objects tell us how their formation history and evolution. Using a forward-modeling method, I measured previse radial and projected rotational velocities of (the lagest sample in the literature of) 37 T dwarfs. I compiled a local 3D kinematics sample of 172 late-M, L, and T dwarfs and found kinematic evidence of the stellar and substellar boundary (~L4-L6), consistent with Baraffe 2003 theoretical model (Hsu et al. 2021). I recently published a huge catalog of multi-epoch RV and vsini measurements of 258 M6 to L2 dwarfs and 444 candidate UCDs (total 2474 epochs) from SDSS/APOGEE DR17 (Hsu et al. 2024a).

Ultracool Dwarf Binaries

Binaries are a direct product of star formation. They provide measurements of mass, separation, orbital period and eccentricity which can be used to constrain the star formation models. Using the precise radial velocity (RV) using the forward-modeling method, I found the first two RV-verified T dwarf binary systems J1106+2754 and J2126+7617 (Hsu et al. 2021) and the shortest-orbital-period ultracool dwarf binary (P=0.71 day! and a nearly circular orbit) LP 413-53AB (Hsu et al. 2023). I also contributed to RV measurements of a young ultracool dwarf (likely) triple system DENIS J0630+1840. Using >900 epochs of APOGEE spectra, I identified 37 UCD binaries candidates from the APOGEE DR17 (Hsu et al. 2024a).

Ultracool Dwarf Rotation

The rotation of ultracool dwarfs tells us their angular momentum evolution. Stellar and substellar objects experience different phases of angular momentum evolution, which can be constrained using their rotational period (through photometric light curves) and projected rotational velocities (vsini) through high-resolution spectroscopy. In my local 20 pc 172 UCD vsini compilation, I found T dwarfs indeed have higher vsini compared to late-M and L dwarfs, indicating that the angular momentum is less loss toward old and field brown dwarfs (Hsu et al. 2021).

Using 40 UCDs in young clusters in the APOGEE Survey, I (for the first time) combined precise photometric rotational periods and vsini, and examined the empirical projected radii (Rsini). I found the Rsini roughly follow the theoretical trend, but higher on average by ~25%, implying that the radius inflation issue extends to the ultracool dwarf regime (Hsu et al. 2024a).

Rotation and Abundances of Gas Giant Exoplanets

More recently, I am working on a high-resolution spectroscopic survey to extract the gas giant planet using the Keck Planet Imager and Characterizer (KPIC; Mawet et al. 2017). The rotation (Wang et al. 2021) and abundances (Xuan et al. 2022) of gas exoplanets can provide us with their formation and evolution. Stay tuned for our future updates on Hsu et al. (2024b)!

Teaching & Outreach

I had extensive teaching and outreach experience since my graduate studies at UC San Diego. During my Ph.D. at UC San Diego, I taught various classes with a total of 15 quarters of teaching experience.