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About me


I am an Instrument Project Scientist/Astronomer at the UK Astronomy Technology Centre (ATC) in Edinburgh.

I am currently the Deputy Principal Investigator and Project Scientist for the Multi-Object Optical and Near-IR Spectrograph (MOONS) for the Very Large Telescope (VLT), and Project Scientist for the High Angular Resolution Monolithic Optical and Near-infrared Integral field spectrograph (HARMONI) for the Extremely Large Telescope (ELT). I am also the Instrument Scientist for the NIR Spectrograph of ANDES, the High Resolution Spectrograph for the ELT.

I am the Principal Investigator of the MOONS survey of the Milky Way and its Satellites with VLT-MOONS (see here), a member of the Vista Variables in the Via Lactea (VVV) photometric survey and its extension (VVV-X), member of the WEAVE low-resolution survey of the Galactic disk, and an Affiliated Principal Investigator of LSST:UK. I also lead the WEAVE Galactic Archaeology Quality Assurance Group.


My research is focused on mapping the stellar population and structure of the inner Galaxy. I am currently leading several projects to place the properties of the Milky Way bulge in the general context of bulge formation by observing nearby edge-on galaxies. 

I am also a strength training/powerlifting enthusiast and strong proponent of a plant-based nutrition for performance, health and the environment. 


Dr. Oscar A Gonzalez

Instrument Project Scientist/Astronomer

UK Astronomy Technology Centre

Scientific Interests

  • Astronomical Instrumentation

  • Galactic Archaeology: the history of the Milky Way

  • The formation and evolution of X-shaped bulges

  • Dust extinction and the reddening law of the inner Milky Way


Project Scientist/Astronomer


As part of STFC’s National Laboratories, the UKATC is the UK’s national laboratory for the design and development of astronomical instrumentation. My primary role is to support the instrumentation projects undertaken by the lab and pursue my own research programmes.


IfA Edinburgh Visiting Fellow


During the 4th year of the ESO fellowship, I was hosted by the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Edinburgh with 100% research time.


ESO Postdoctoral Fellow


Paranal support astronomer of UT1 (FORS2, CRIRES, KMOS, and NACO), Instrument Scientist of VIRCAM@VISTA, and Instrument Fellow of FORS2. I completed 240 nights as UT1 Support Astronomer and 40 nights as Night Shift Coordinator at the VLT


PhD in Astronomy


Thesis title: “Unfolding the Galactic Bulge”

Advisors: Prof. Dr. Ortwin Gerhard (LMU) and Dr. Marina Rejkuba

Thesis title: “Unfolding the Galactic Bulge”

Degree: PhD in Astronomy, Magna Cum Laude


Licenciatura (diploma) in Astronomy


Thesis title: "Lithium rich RGB stars in the Galactic Bulge”

Advisor: Prof. Dr. Manuela Zoccali

Degree: Licenciatura (Diploma) in Astronomy, Maximum Distinction


Design, construction, and operation of optical/IR MOS/IFU instrumentation

High-resolution spectroscopy and spectral synthesis

Integral Field Unit Spectroscopy

Photometry and Image processing

Project management and effective leadership

Python, IDL, R - Advanced

English - Fluent

Spanish - Mother Tongue

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MOONS Surveys of the Milky Way and its Satellites

Gonzalez et al. 2020, The Messenger, vol. 180, p. 18-23


MOONS at the VLT represents a unique combination of an efficient infrared multi-object spectrograph and a large-aperture 8-m-class telescope which will sample the cool stellar populations of the dense central regions of the Milky Way and its satellites. This paper describes our MOONS survey of the Milky Way and its Satellites, delivering accurate radial velocities, metallicities, and other chemical abundances for 0.5M stars. 

The wide-field, multiplexed, spectroscopic facility WEAVE: Survey design, overview, and simulated implementation

Shoko et al. 2023, MNRAS, stad557


WEAVE, the new wide-field, massively multiplexed spectroscopic survey facility for the William Herschel Telescope. This paper summarises the design and implementation of the WEAVE instrument and its data systems. We present the organisation, science drivers and design of a five- to seven-year programme of eight individual surveys.

The Imprint of Clump Formation at High Redshift. II. The Chemistry of the Bulge

Debattista, Liddicott, Gonzalez, et. al. 2023, ApJ, 946, 188


We investigate the effect of high-redshift clumps on the bulge’s chemistry using an N-body + smoothed particle hydrodynamics clumpy simulation. We show that clumpy star formation is able to simultaneously explain the chemodynamic trends of the MW’s bulge, thin+thick disks, and the splash.

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