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Python, Planets, and Portals: Designing Web Apps for Modern Astronomers


Have you ever thought about the tech that powers our search for alien worlds? From 2010 to 2022 I worked in the astronomy department at Vanderbilt University designing Python-based web applications for the unique needs of astronomers searching for exoplanets: planets outside our solar system orbiting other stars. In this talk I will go over the innovative web-based astronomy tools I built at Vanderbilt and the unique challenges in building these tools. My focus will be on Filtergraph, a cutting-edge service for building web-based data visualization portals. Not only has it been used extensively by multiple NASA missions, it also caught the attention of mainstream media, being showcased in an episode of 60 Minutes with Anderson Cooper ( While I'll discuss my experience in astronomy, the lessons I've gathered will be invaluable for anyone working in a complex, technologically advanced field


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