David Turner

Research Associate, Department of Physics & Astronomy
Location: 4208 Biomed Phys Sci
Profile photo of  David Turner
Photo of: David Turner


I am an astrophysicist and open source software developer, and am currently a research associate working at Michigan State University in the Physics and Astronomy department with Professor Megan Donahue. I am currently a member of the Local Volume Complete Cluster Survey (LoVoCCS), the X-ray Cluster Survey (XCS; formerly the XMM Cluster Survey), the Dark Energy Survey (DES), and the LSST-DESC collaboration.

My primary expertise is in X-ray astronomy/astrophysics and clusters of galaxies, using clusters as laboratories to explore various aspects of astrophysics and cosmology. My scientific interests are currently focused on multi-wavelength analyses of galaxy clusters, to provide constraints on their mass, temperature, density, and the relations between these properties. Not only does this tell us a lot about individual clusters, but the scatter of the total mass with respect to these different properties must be understood to successfully measure cosmology using galaxy clusters. Other research interests include active galaxies, and the low-metallicity, intensely star-forming galaxies known as 'Green Peas'. I also have an interest in very large scale analyses of objects, in order to search for unusual or discrepant behaviours; this comes from my time spent working as a part of XCS, a serendipitous survey of galaxy clusters. I would be surprised if there weren't objects of a type previously unknown to us in the large archives of telescopes like XMM, and so I work on software that makes these large scale analyses easier, as the scale of the data we can search is only ever going to increase. My research is enabled by the open-source Python X-ray astronomy modules XGA and DAXA; I am the founder and lead developer, managing the addition of new features. This is part of my mission to democratise astronomy specialisms through easy to use software.

Selected Publications

  • The XMM Cluster Survey: An independent demonstration of the fidelity of the eFEDS galaxy cluster data products and implications for future studies --- This paper presents comparisons between measurements of galaxy cluster properties made using performance-verification eROSITA observations and those made using XMM observations. We found a significant discrepancy between temperature measurements, as previously demonstrated between Chandra and XMM. View Publication
  • XGA: A module for the large-scale scientific exploitation of archival X-ray astronomy data --- This paper describes XGA, my open-source, generalised, Python module for X-ray astronomy analysis. View Publication