- Extrasolar planets - detection and characterization
- Binary stars
- Astronomical signal processing - spectroscopy, photometry, astrometry
Prof. Shay[Shay] Zucker
- B.Sc. Physics and Mathematics, Tel Aviv University, 1989
- M. Sc. Physics and Astronomy, Tel Aviv University, 1993
- Ph.D. Physics and Astronomy, Tel Aviv University, 2002
- Post doctoral scholar, Dept. of Geophysics and Planetary Sciences, Tel Aviv University, 2002
- Post doctoral scholar, Geneva Observatory, Geneva University, Geneva, Switzerland, 2003
- Post doctoral scholar, Astrophysics Department, Weizmann Institute of Science, 2004
- Post doctoral scholar, Dept. of Geophysics and Planetary Sciences, Tel Aviv University, 2005
- Senior lecturer, Dept. of Geophysics and Planetary Sciences, Tel Aviv University, 2006
- Associate Professor, Dept. of Geophysics, Tel Aviv University, 2009
- Professor, Dept. of Geophysics, Tel Aviv University, 2014
Prof. Shay Zucker studies mainly binary stars and extrasolar planets (exoplanets). However, sometimes he also studies other astronomical phenomena, starting from asteroids in the Solar System, through stars orbiting the center of the Milky Way galaxy, and even quasars. The recurrent theme in all those studies is the use of statistical methods and the application of advanced methods of astronomical data analysis ("astrostatistics").
In 1994 (while still a Master's student) Prof. Zucker published, together with his then advisor Prof. Tsevi Mazeh, the algorithm TODCOR, for measuring radial velocities of spectroscopic binary stars. Eventually the algorithm became a basic tool in the study of binary stars.
In 2001 he was a member of the team who discovered the exoplanet HD209458b, which later became the first known exoplanet transiting its host star.
In 2003, as part of his PhD research, he developed, together with Prof. Mazeh and Prof. Géza Kovács from Hungary, the BLS algorithm, for the detection of transiting exoplanets. The BLS became a standard tool in the search of planets, and many of the known exoplanets were detected by teams who used the BLS to detect them.
In 2004, as a post-doctoral fellow in the group of Nobel laureate Michel Mayor at the Observatory of Geneva in Switzerland, he led a Swiss-Israeli team who discovered a unique system, HD41004, which included two stars, a brown dwarf and a planet, using an upgraded version of TODCOR.
As a post-doctoral fellow in the Weizmann Institute of Science, he led a team from the Weizmann Institute and from Max Planck Institute in Germany, including Nobel laureate Reinhard Genzel, who showed the importance of relativistic (post-newtonian) effects in the observed orbits of stars around the center of the Milky Way galaxy.
Based on those results, and together with the late Prof. Tal Alexander from the Weizmann Institute and Prof. Tsevi Mazeh, they predicted in 2007 the possibility of detecting a new kind of binary stars - "beaming binary stars". The orbital motion of those stars induces miniscule changes in their photometric signals which may be detectable by modern instruments. This prediction has already been corroborated numerous times using the Kepler satellite.
Currently Prof. Zucker is a member of the DPAC consortium, which is in charge of analyzing the data obtained by the Gaia space telescope of the European Space Agency. Within DPAC, Prof. Zucker is affiliated with the CU7 group, which is dedicated to analyze and characterize temporal variability. Prof. Zucker is focusing on the possibility to detect transiting planets by Gaia.
Recently Prof. Zucker teamed up with Dr. Raja Giryes, of the School of Electrical Engineering in the Faculty of Engineering, and together they apply methods of Deep Learning to solve the challenge of detecting terrestrial planets in signals affected by the variability of the host stars ("red noise"). This a major hurdle to overcome in the search for habitable planets.
Publications in peer-reviewed journals
1. Zucker, S., and Mazeh, T. (1994). Study of Spectroscopic Binaries with TODCOR 1. A New Two-Dimensional Correlation Algorithm to Derive the Radial Velocities of the Two Components. The Astrophysical Journal, 420, pp. 806-810.
2. Mazeh, T., Zucker, S., Goldberg, D., Latham, D.W, Stefanik, R.P., and Carney, B.W. (1995). Study of Spectroscopic Binaries with TODCOR II. The Highly Eccentric Binary HD2909. The Astrophysical Journal, 449, pp. 909-915.
4. Mazeh, T., Zucker, S., dalla Torre, A., and van Leeuwen, F. (1999). Analysis of the Hipparcos Measurements of υ Andromedae: A Mass Estimate of its Outermost Known Planetary Companion. The Astrophysical Journal Letters, 522, pp. L149-L151.
7. Leinert, Ch., Jahreiß, H., Woitas, J., Zucker, S., Mazeh, T., Eckart, A., and Köhler, R. (2001). Dynamical Mass Determination for The Very Low Mass Stars LHS 1070 B and C. Astronomy and Astrophysics, 367, pp. 183-188.
12. Mazeh, T., Prato, L., Simon, M., Goldberg, E., Norman, D., and Zucker, S. (2002). Infrared Detection of Low-Mass Secondaries in Spectroscopic Binaries. The Astrophysical Journal, 564, pp. 1007-1014.
18. Zucker, S., Mazeh, T., Santos, N.C., Udry, S., and Mayor, M. (2003). Multi-order TODCOR: Application to Observations Taken with the CORALIE Echelle Spectrograph I. The System HD41004. Astronomy and Astrophysics, 404, pp. 775-781.
19. Zucker, S. (2003). Cross-Correlation and Maximum Likelihood Analysis: A New Approach to Combining Cross-Correlation Functions. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 342, pp. 1291-1298.
21. Mazeh, T., Simon, M., Prato, L., Markus, B., and Zucker, S. (2003). The Mass-Ratio Distribution in Main-Sequence Spectroscopic Binaries Measured by Infrared Spectroscopy. The Astrophysical Journal, 599, pp. 1344-1356.
23. Zucker, S., Mazeh, T., Santos, N.C., Udry, S., and Mayor, M. (2004). Multi-order TODCOR: Application to Observations Taken with the CORALIE Echelle Spectrograph II. A Planet in the System HD41004. Astronomy and Astrophysics, 426, pp. 695-698.
24. Southworth, J., Zucker, S., Maxted, P.F.L., and Smalley, B. (2004). Eclipsing Binaries in Open Clusters III. V621 Per in χ Persei. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 355, pp. 986-994.
31. da Silva, R., et al. (2006). ELODIE Metallicity-Biased Search for Transiting Hot Jupiters I. Two Hot Jupiters Orbiting the Slightly Evolved Stars HD118203 and HD149143. Astronomy and Astrophysics, 446, pp. 717-722.
32. Zucker, S., Alexander, T., Gillessen, S., Eisenhauer, F., and Genzel, R. (2006). Probing Post-Newtonian Physics Near the Galactic Black Hole with Stellar Redshift Measurements. The Astrophysical Journal Letters, 639, pp. L21-L24.
39. da Silva, R., et al. (2007). ELODIE Metallicity-Biased Search for Transiting Hot Jupiters IV. Intermediate Period Planets Orbiting the Stars HD43691 and HD132406. Astronomy and Astrophysics, 473, pp. 323-328.
44. Deleuil, M., et al. (2008). Transiting Exoplanets from the CoRoT Space Mission VI. CoRoT-Exo-3b: The First Secure Inhabitant of the Brown-Dwarf Desert. Astronomy and Astrophysics, 491, pp. 889-897.
47. Mazeh, T., Tsodikovich, Y., Segal, Y., Zucker, S., Eggenberger, A., Udry, S., and Mayor, M. (2009). TRIMOR – Three-Dimensional Correlation Technique to Analyze Multi-Order Spectra of Triple Stellar Systems; Application to HD188753. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 399, pp. 906-913.
49. Schlichting, H.E., Ofek, E.O., Wenz, M., Sari, R., Gal-Yam, A., Livio, M., Nelan, E., and Zucker, S. (2009). A Single Sub-Kilometre Kuiper Belt Object from a Stellar Occultation in Archival Data. Nature, 462, pp. 895-897.
52. Dzigan, Y., and Zucker, S. (2011). Directed Follow-up Strategy of Low-Cadence Photometric Surveys in Search of Transiting Exoplanets – I. Bayesian Approach for Adaptive Scheduling. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 415, pp. 2513–2522.
55. Aigrain, S., Pont, and., and Zucker, S. (2012). A Simple Method to Estimate Radial Velocity Variations due to Stellar Activity Using Photometry. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 419, pp. 3147-3158.
56. Mazeh, T., Nachmani, G., Sokol, G., Faigler, S., and Zucker, S. (2012). Kepler KOI-13.01 – Detection of Beaming and Ellipsoidal Modulations Pointing to a Massive Hot Jupiter. Astronomy and Astrophysics, 541, A56.
58. Dzigan, Y., and Zucker, S. (2013). Directed Follow-Up Strategy of Low-Cadence Photometric Surveys in Search of Transiting Exoplanets - II. Application to Gaia. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 428, pp. 3641-3647.
62. Zucker, S., and Tzur, I. (2015). Constraining the Orbits of Small Solar System Bodies Using Spectroscopic Doppler Shift Measurements - A Preliminary Study. Astronomische Nachrichten, 336, pp. 634-637.
63. Helled, R., Lozovsky, M., and Zucker, S. (2016). A Possible Correlation between Planetary Radius and Orbital Period for Intermediate-Mass and Low-Mass Planets. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 455, pp. L96–L98.
66. Ma, B., et al. (2016). Very Low-mass Stellar and Substellar Companions to Solar-like Stars from MARVELS. VI. A Giant Planet and a Brown Dwarf Candidate in a Close Binary System HD 87646. The Astronomical Journal, 152, 112.
84. Tal-Or, L., Trifonov, T., Zucker, S., Mazeh, T., and Zechmeister, M. (2019). Correcting HIRES/Keck radial velocities for small systematic errors. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 484, pp. L8-L13.
85. Zucker, S. (2019). Detection of Periodicity Based on Independence Tests - IV. Phase Distance Correlation Periodogram for Two-Dimensional Astrometry. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Letters, 484, pp. L14-L18.
89. Trifonov, T., Tal-Or, L., Zechmeister, M., Kaminski, A., Zucker, S., and Mazeh, T. (2020). A public HARPS radial velocity database corrected for systematic errors. Astronomy and Astrophysics, 636, A74.
91. Bashi, D., Zucker, S., Adibekyan, V., Santos, N. C., Tal-Or, L., Trifonov, T., and Mazeh, T. (2020). Occurrence rates of small planets form HARPS: Focus on the Galactic context. Astronomy and Astrophysics, 643, A106.
99. Shahaf, S., Mazeh, T., Zucker, S., and Fabrycky, D. (2021). Systematic search for long-term transit duration changes in Kepler transiting planets. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 505, pp. 1293-1310