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Charles Telesco

Picture of Charles Telesco


Office: 211E Bryant Space Science Center
Phone: (352) 294–1832
Fax: (352) 392–5089

Educational Background

  • Ph.D., Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of Chicago, 1977

Areas of Specialty

Cosmic magnetic fields, interstellar dust, astrobiology, IR and visible instrumentation

Research Interests

My current primary research interests are in two areas:
1. The morphology of cosmic magnetic fields. We have been using the polarimetric modes (both imaging and spectroscopic) of the mid-IR multi-mode camera CanariCam on the 10-m Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC) to determine the structure of magnetic fields in young stellar objects and their environments. CanariCam was developed by my team and me at the University of Florida as a GTC facility instrument. This research is supported by the NSF.
2. The search for life on other worlds. Working with UF Astro engineers and scientists from SETI, NASA, and NIST, I have been leading an effort to develop a very compact polarimeter that can be used to measure chiral biosignatures and exoplanet atmospheric properties. Our lab prototype, called IMPS (Integrated Miniature Polarimeter and Spectrograph), has demonstrated the potential of this concept, and we are moving forward to develop more refined versions.


I am a Professor in the Department of Astronomy at the University of Florida. I received my PhD in Astronomy and Astrophysics in 1977 from the University of Chicago flying on the Kuiper Airborne Observatory under the guidance of my advisor Al Harper. After a short time at MIT, I went to the University of Hawaii in Manoa as a staff astronomer on the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility, which took me frequently and happily to the amazing Mauna Kea. Thereafter, I moved to NASA Ames Research Center, then to NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. In 1995, after 12 years at NASA, I joined the faculty at the University of Florida, where I established the Astronomical Instrumentation Program.