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Dr. Brian Espey

Associate Professor (Physics)

Name: Brian Russell Espey Qualifications: B.A. (Mod) Experimental Physics, University of Dublin, 1983 (class II1) Ph.D. in Astronomy, University of Cambridge, 1990 Employment Nov 2001 - present Permanent Lecturer, Physics Department, University of Dublin Also: Research Associate, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies May 1998 - Oct 2001 Assistant Astronomer, European Space Agency, stationed at Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, MD, USA Also: adjunct Associate Research Scientist, Department of Physics & Astronomy, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA Also: Academic Visitor, Queen's University of Belfast, Northern Ireland Jan 1994 - Apr 1998 Associate Research Scientist, Department of Physics & Astronomy, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA Also: adjunct Research Assistant Professor, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA Oct 1990 - Dec 1993 Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Physics & Astronomy, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA Oct 1989 - Sep 1990 Royal Society European Science Exchange Fellow, Leiden Observatory, The Netherlands Oct 1983 - Dec 1985 Scientific Officer, Laser Division, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Chilton, UK Fellowships Oct 1989 - Sept 1990 Royal Society European Science Exchange (Leverhulme) Fellow - position held at Leiden Observatory, The Netherlands Research experience I am primarily an observer experienced with multiwavelength datasets, though also have experience with the tools required to analyse and model the data. I have worked with instruments covering the infrared through to the X-ray regions of the spectrum, and have an intimate knowledge of spectroscopy and diagnostics and tools (e.g., XSTAR, CLOUDY) as well as data reduction software (STARLINIK, IRAF, STSDAS etc.). In particular, I have worked on the instrument teams for the Hopkins Ultraviolet Telescope [HUT], and Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph [STIS]) and have recently specialised in data from STIS and the Far-Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer (FUSE). Although UV and far-UV astronomy may be reduced in scope in the next few years, the tools and techniques have application to the spectra reaching us from the high-redshift Universe, since they originate in the rest-frame UV and far-UV portions of the Universe. The relevance of this is due to the ionising nature of the photons from these portions of the spectrum - not only for the immediate neighbourhood of hot stars and active galactic nuclei, but also for the ionisation of the interstellar and intergalactic material, controlling star formation as well as what we can observe in the distant Universe. My current research centres on three main themes. Studies of mass loss from evolved stars in symbiotic star binaries, and the physical properties and abundance of gas in active galactic nuclei use emission and absorption line spectroscopic diagnostics as well as statistical methods. More recently, I have begun the application of machine intelligence to the interrogation of large databases (in particular the spectroscopic data of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey) in order to identify new samples for statistical, as well as more detailed, study.
 Mapping Light Pollution across Ireland
 Understanding the Origins of the Common Elements: Mass-Loss from Red Giant Stars

Details Date
Committee member, Royal Irish Academy Astronomy and Space Sciences Committee Chair, RIA Subcommittee on Light Pollution 2010
Language Skill Reading Skill Writing Skill Speaking
Dutch Basic Basic Basic
English Fluent Fluent Fluent
French Medium Basic Basic
Details Date From Date To
Fellow, Royal Astronomical Society January 1979 current
Member, Astronomical Science Group of Ireland (ASGI) November 2001
Member, American Astronomical Society 1990 current
Cleary-Gaffney, M.; Espey,B.,; Coogan, A., Association of perceptions of artificial light-at-night, light-emitting device usage and environmental noise, Heliyon, 8, (11), 2022, p11 , Journal Article, PUBLISHED  TARA - Full Text  URL
Cleary-Gaffney, M. and Espey, B. and Coogan, A.N., Association of perceptions of artificial light-at-night, light-emitting device usage and environmental noise appraisal with psychological distress, sleep quality and chronotype: A cross sectional study, Heliyon, 8, (11), 2022, Notes: [cited By 0], Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
Kyba, C.C.M. and Aubé, M. and Bará, S. and Bertolo, A. and Bouroussis, C.A. and Cavazzani, S. and Espey, B.R. and Falchi, F. and Gyuk, G. and Jechow, A. and Kocifaj, M. and Kolláth, Z. and Lamphar, H. and Levin, N. and Liu, S. and Miller, S.D. and Ortolani, S. and Jason Pun, C.S. and Ribas, S.J. and Ruhtz, T. and Sánchez de Miguel, A. and Schneider, M. and Shrestha, R.M. and Simoneau, A. and So, C.W. and Storch, T. and Tong, K.P. and Tuñón, M. and Turnshek, D. and Walczak, K. and Wang, J. and Wang, Z. and Zhang, J., Multiple Angle Observations Would Benefit Visible Band Remote Sensing Using Night Lights, Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 127, (12), 2022, Notes: [cited By 5], Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
Kyba, C.C.M. and Ruby, A. and Kuechly, H.U. and Kinzey, B. and Miller, N. and Sanders, J. and Barentine, J. and Kleinodt, R. and Espey, B., Direct measurement of the contribution of street lighting to satellite observations of nighttime light emissions from urban areas, Lighting Research and Technology, 53, (3), 2021, p189-211 , Notes: [cited By 1], Journal Article, PUBLISHED  TARA - Full Text  DOI
Espey, B.R., Empirical modelling of public lighting emission functions, Remote Sensing, 13, (19), 2021, Notes: [cited By 0], Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
Coogan, A., Cleary-Gaffney, M., Finnegan, M., McMillan, G, Gonzalez, A., and Espey, B., Perceptions of light pollution and its impacts: Results of an Irish citizen science survey, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17, (15), 2020, p5628 - 5634, Notes: [], Journal Article, PUBLISHED  TARA - Full Text
Power, M., Del Campo, A.G., and Espey, B., Light pollution: spatial analysis and potential ecological effects in rural Ireland, Irish Geography, 50, (1), 2017, p19 - 36, Notes: [This paper examines the implications of light pollution for the region of the Mayo Dark Sky Park in the Wild Nephin/Ballycroy area using a combination of satellite and in-situ light pollution measurements and studies of resident species sensitivity.], Journal Article, PUBLISHED  TARA - Full Text
Espey, B, McCauley, J, Initial Irish light pollution measurements and a new Sky Quality Meter-based data logger, LIGHTING RESEARCH & TECHNOLOGY, 46, (1), 2014, p67-77 , Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI
Crowley, C., Espey, B.R., and McCandliss, S.R., EG And: Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer and Hubble Space Telescope STIS Monitoring of an Eclipsing Symbiotic Binary, Astrophysical Journal, 675, (1), 2008, p711 - 722, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  URL  URL
Sokoloski, J.L., Kenyon, S.J., Espey, B.R., Keyes, C.D., McCandliss, S.R., Kong, A.K.H., Aufdenberg, J.P., Filippenko, A.V., Li, W., Brocksopp, C., Kaiser, C.R., Charles, P.A., Rupen, M.P. and Stone, R.P.S., A 'Combination Nova' Outburst in Z Andromedae: Nuclear Shell Burning Triggered by a Disk Instability, Astrophysical Journal, 636, (2), 2006, p1002 - 1019, Journal Article, PUBLISHED  DOI  URL  URL

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Brian Espey, 'Public Lighting Recommendations', Dublin, Dark Sky Ireland, 2019, 1 - 36, Protocol or guideline, PUBLISHED
Brian Espey, 'Public Lighting Recommendations', Dublin, Dark Sky Ireland, 2019, 1 - 36, Protocol or guideline, PUBLISHED
Brian Espey, Night: The Other Side of the Enivronmental Coin, Heritage Ireland, Spring, (9), 2019, p5 - 7, Notes: [This article was an invited contribution on aspects of the night-time environment of cultural sites.], Journal Article, PUBLISHED
Brian Espey, 'Light Pollution and AstroTourism', Newstalk Drive, 8th September 2017, (Drive), Dublin, Newstalk 106-108fm, 2017, -, Broadcast, PUBLISHED
Brian Espey, 'Light Pollution in Ireland', Drive, Newstalk Drive 29th March 2017, Dublin, Newstalk 106-108fm, 2017, -, Broadcast, PUBLISHED
Brian Espey, Light Pollution - WATTS it all about? , Launch of Cork Sky Friendly Campaign, Blackrock Castle Observatory, Cork, 14 July 2017, 2017, Blackrock Castle Observatory, Notes: [This invited talk formed part of the launch of the Cork Sky Friendly Campaign, with the Lord Mayors of both Cork city and county in attendance. My talk addressed the pressure on dark sky places in Ireland, and the consequent impact on environment, energy, health, and cultural sites. The benefits of dark skies to increasing tourism were also discussed.], Invited Talk, PUBLISHED
Brian Espey, Intelligent Lighting: How Not to be Seen in a Bad Light , Mayo Dark Skies Festival, Mulranny, Co. Mayo, 27-29 October 2017, 2017, Mayo Dark Skies Festival, Notes: [My invited review addressed issues of responsible lighting, both in terms of sustainability and also in terms of environmental and health concerns. Approaches to tackle the issue were outlined.], Invited Talk, PUBLISHED
Brian Espey, Dark Skies, Tourism & Sustainability, National Tourism Conference, Listowel, Co. Kerry, 5-6 September 2017, 2017, Kerry County Council, Notes: [My talk addressed the potential for dark skies tourism to form a sustainable strand of Irish tourism, particularly along the Wild Atlantic Way.], Invited Talk, PUBLISHED
Ribas, S. J., Aubé, M., Bará, S., Bouroussis, C., Canal-Domingo, R., Espey, B., Hänel, A., Jechow, A., Kolláth, Z., Marti, G., Massana, P., Schmidt, W., Spoelstra, H., Wuchterl, G., Zamorano, J., Kyba, C., Report of the 2016 STARS4ALL/LoNNe Intercomparison Campaign, Potsdam, Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum GFZ, 2017, p1 - 69, Notes: [This report is part of a co-ordination project between European researchers to standardise measurements and approaches to night-time light measurement. A number of pratical experiments were conducted to assess the impact of public lighting on the nearby environment, including an area of national park.], Report, PUBLISHED
Brian Espey, Light@Night: Environment, Ecology and Health, 20th April 2016, In:Light@Night: Environment, Ecology and Health, 2016, School of Physics, Trinity College Dublin, Notes: [Meeting to bring stake holders, including National Parks & Wildlife Service, Wicklow Uplands Council, Cloughjordan Ecovillage, etc. together to discuss the topic of light at night.], Meetings /Conferences Organised, PUBLISHED


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Award Date
Royal Society Leverhulme Fellowship 1989-1990
Emission and absorption line spectroscopy of symbiotic stars and active galactic nuclei. Modelling of symbiotic binaries and AGN. Development of emission line diagnostics. Intelligent software analysis of large astrophysical databases.