Nabeel Rehemtulla

I'm a first year Astronomy PhD student in CIERA at Northwestern University. I recently graduated from the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor with a major in Astronomy & Astrophysics. My research interests include data- and computation-intensive astronomy and galactic dynamics.

This website serves as a supplement to my CV, containing resources like past presentation slides and posters.

Research Projects

Presentations of these projects can be found below.

Non-Parametric Spherical Jeans Mass Estimation with B-Splines

University of Michigan – Ann Arbor

Excerpt from abstract:
We consider the application of Jeans modeling to mapping the dark matter distribution in the outer reaches of the Milky Way using field halo stars. To do so, we develop a novel non-parametric routine for solving the spherical Jeans equation by fitting B-splines to the velocity and density profiles of halo stars and an MCMC-based subroutine that deconvolves observational effects from the underlying distributions.

Published as Rehemtulla et al. 2022

I have made the code presented in this paper publicly available on my GitHub under the name NIMBLE (Non-parametrIc jeans Mass with B-spLinEs)

ZTF BTS Neural Network Classifier

Northwestern University
Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics (CIERA)

Building a neural network to identify transients that will become bright enough for inclusion in the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) Bright Transient Survey (BTS) potentially allowing for earlier spectra of transients and a reduction of daily human-hours scanning nightly data.

Star Formation Rate in Merger Galaxies

University of Michigan – Ann Arbor
MDM Observatory, Kitt Peak National Observatory

Excerpt from abstract:
We observe four target merger galaxies in H-alpha to calcualte their star formation rate densities and compile previously observed data giving us their gas surface density. With these two quantities, we can investigate how various merger galaxies stand in relation to non-mergers with respect to the Kennicutt-Schmidt law.
final paper


Descriptions of the projects in these presentations can be found above.

Non-Parametric Spherical Jeans Mass Estimation with B-Splines

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

I presented this work as an iPoster at the DESI Special Session of the 237th AAS meeting in January 2021 where I won a Chambliss Astronomy Achievement award.
the iPoster | PDF version

I also gave a short talk at the Michigan Institute for Data Science Poster Symposium 2020 where I won the award for Outstanding Undergraduate Poster. I ensured that my content was accessibile for the non-astronomy audience by focusing on the motivations and implications of the work. In 2019 and 2021, I presented similarly accessibile posters at the University of Michigan Astronomy Undergraduate Poster Session.
the poster | the presentation slides

I wrote a short summary of this project (a bite) for the undergraduate research series on

Star Formation Rate in Merger Galaxies

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
MDM Observatory - Kitt Peak National Observatory

This project was done as part of a University of Michigan course ASTRO 461 taught by Professor Sally Oey. In the observing proposal we describe the motivations, feasability, and target selection.
the observing proposal

Other Projects

Website Architect for GHOSTS HST Survey

University of Michigan & Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics

I undertook a project rebuilding the Galaxy, Halos, Outer disks, Substructure, Thick disks and Star clusters (GHOSTS) HST survey website. I noted inefficiencies in the source of the current version and designed a rebuild to correct for these and improve expandability. I proposed my rebuild project to GHOSTS P.I. Dr. Roelof de Jong with logistical help from GHOSTS team member and UM professor, Eric Bell. My rebuild employs Jinja, an efficient Python templating engine, to simplify the creation and modification of their webpages.

the GitHub repository


When I'm not staring into a jupyter notebook, I like to keep myself moving and trying new things. To pass time during quarantine, I baked and cooked with friends and read for pleasure. In order to stay fit I've taken up indoor rock climbing on top of lifting and cardio for general fitness.

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  Last Edited 04/25/22 - Template from bootstrap