Fernando Cruz Aguirre, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Research Scholar

Fernando Cruz Aguirre is a Postdoctoral Research Scholar shared between the Hoadley UV Space Lab (HUSL) and the DeRoo Research Group. His research interests include the ultraviolet radiation environments around stars smaller than, similar to, and a bit larger than the Sun, and their impact on planetary habitability. He is also interested in optical design and technology development for space missions. Fernando received his Ph.D. in Astrophysical and Planetary Science from the University of Colorado, Boulder in 2023. During his time in Colorado, Fernando served as the lead graduate student for the second flight of the Suborbital Imaging Spectrograph for Transition-region Irradiance from Nearby Exoplanet host stars (SISTINE) sounding rocket payload, a broadband far ultraviolet (FUV) imaging spectrograph. Fernando also led a large archival Hubble Space Telescope program to recover obscured FUV emission from ~100 main sequence stars observed by the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph (COS) on board Hubble, and developed a community tool to perform these stellar recoveries. Through these research projects, Fernando has become an expert on the FUV radiation environments around low mass main sequence stars, and aims to understand the impacts of these radiation environments on exoplanetary systems. His experience in FUV spectroscopy through both science and instrumentation, combined with a growing interest in mission design, led Fernando to apply to and become part of the inaugural Astrophysics Mission Design School (AMDS) through NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He became part of a team of 18 students who led the development of an ultraviolet $1B Astrophysics Probe concept. In an effort to try new things, Fernando became Co-Objective Lead on differentiating between Type Ia supernovae progenitors, and also worked on designing the propulsion system. Fernando continues to broaden his research scope and develop his mission and instrument design skills here at the University of Iowa under the guidance of Keri Hoadley and Casey DeRoo. 

Research areas
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
Fernando Cruz Aguirre, Ph.D.
Ph.D. Astrophysical and Planetary Science, University of Colorado, Boulder, 2023
302 Van Allen Hall