Don Barry Don Barry

Astronomer, Spitzer/IRS team 2000–present
Harlan J. Smith Fellow 1996–1998 (UT/Austin)
Ph.D. 1995 (Georgia State University)
B.S. Chemistry, Mathematics 1985 (Georgia Tech)


Specialty Areas: Infrared and Optical Astronomy, Astronomical Computing

Research Projects: Spitzer: Operation Phase of the Infrared Spectrometer of the Space Infrared Telescope Facility.


Don Barry joined the Cornell Spitzer Space Telescope Infrared Spectrograph instrument team in 2000, as the architect and manager of the data processing requirements and scientific computing methodology for the instrument team. In addition to architecture work, he brought expertise in numerical methods, scientific databases and data mining, and standards for interoperability of astronomical data to the Cornell group.

His most recent work is in establishing the Cornell Atlas of Spitzer/IRS Sources (CASSIS), an archive of all Spitzer/IRS spectra supporting cone search, browsing, and interface with virtual observatory tools. It will eventually offer automatically reduced spectra of all targets, including serendipitous slit finds, both through its own web interface and through the International Virtual Observatory.

He participated in some of the early field-surveys on site location work for the proposed Cornell-Caltech Atacama Telescope, helping to deploy weather stations atop an 18,300 foot peak and a lesser front-range location.

He was also involved in interface work and instrument commissioning for the Cornell-built Wide-field IR Camera (WIRC) for the Palomar telescope.

Don is also very involved in teaching. Since 2006, he has taught Astro 4410 (Experimental Astronomy, previously Observational Astronomy), from 2006-2008 with Jim Houck. Students have great flexibility in designing their own projects in this course. In one popular experiment, students determine the temperature and gas pressure in a distant planetary nebula. In another, they record the rotation of a spiral galaxy, and moments after a long exposure is complete, are inferring the presence of Dark Matter in the universe from the visible shape of the rotation profile.

Don also participated in significant upgrades to the departmental Hartung-Boothroyd Observatory in support of Astro 4410 and astrophysical demonstrations to students in other courses. Through his interest in historical telescopes, he also took the initiative to restore long-failed functionality of the nearly century-old Irving Porter Church telescopes of the Fuertes Observatory and train undergraduate docents in scientific content relevant to objects shown on the observatory open house nights.

Don was the architect for the Hewitt Laboratory for Undergraduate Computing, and in 2003, taught the course Astro 234 (Modern Astrophysical Techniques), using this facility, introducing students to a survey of astronomical techniques, with intensive hands-on analysis, reduction, and modeling of a variety of raw instrument data.

Other Activities:

Don was the advisor for the Cornell Chapter of the International Youth and Students for Social Equality, a Cornell registered student organization promoting the refoundation of our economy to serve social need rather than private profit.

He also mentored the Cornell/Ithaca Free Outing Club, which promoted a community model for student engagement with nature in opposition to Cornell's commercial outdoors entertainment enterprises, "Cornell Outdoor Education" and "Outdoor Odyssey".

He also maintains a personal photographic archive and a genealogical archive of his family.


Selected Publications:

Cornell Atlas of Spitzer IRS Spectra, Lebouteiller, V., Barry, D.J., Spoon, H.W.W., Bernard-Salas, J., Sloan, G.C., Houck, J.R.,and Weedman, D., ApJS (submitted)

The digitized first Byurakan survey - DFBS, Mickaelian, A. M.; Nesci, R.; Rossi, C.; Weedman, D.; Cirimele, G.; Sargsyan, L. A.; Erastova, L. K.; Gigoyan, K. S.; Mikayelyan, G. A.; Massaro, E.; Gaudenzi, S.; Houck, J.; Barry, D.; D'Amante, L.; Germano, P., A&A 464, 1177 (2007).

Infrared Observations of the Candidate LBV 1806-20 and Nearby Cluster Stars, Eikenberry, S. S.; Matthews, K.; LaVine, J. L.; Garske, M. A.; Hu, D.; Jackson, M. A.; Patel, S. G.; Barry, D. J.; Colonno, M. R.; Houck, J. R.; Wilson, J. C.; Corbel, S.; Smith, J. D., ApJ 616, 506 (2004).

A Wide-Field Infrared Camera for the Palomar 200-inch Telescope Wilson, John C.; Eikenberry, Stephen S.; Henderson, Charles P.; Hayward, Thomas L.; Carson, Joseph C.; Pirger, Bruce; Barry, Donald J.; Brandl, Bernhard R.; Houck, James R.; Fitzgerald, Gregory J.; Stolberg, T. M., Instrument Design and Performance for Optical/Infrared Ground-Based Telescopes, Proceedings of the SPIE, Volume 4841, pp451-458 (2003).

An Improved, "Newtonian" Version of the Ebert-Fastie Spectrograph, Barry, Donald J.; Bagnuolo, William G., Jr.; Riddle, Reed L., PASP 114 198 (2002).

Thinking about Graduate School in Astronomy? Another View, Don Barry, 1999. (a popular article on Ph.D. overproduction in the field and the resulting jobs crisis)

Design Of and Studies With a Novel One Meter Multi-Element Spectroscopic Telescope, Don Barry, Ph.D. Dissertation, 1996. (I was principal engineering scientist on the inexpensive 1-m Multi Telescope Telescope, a now retired facility.)