"I'm happy about the SPIE fellowship," he said. "There are a lot of extremely impressive and smart people who are fellows, and it's an honor to join them."
SPIE fellows are members of distinction who have made significant scientific and technical contributions in the multidisciplinary fields of optics, photonics and imaging.
Macintosh recently was part of a team of astronomers who discovered a fourth giant planet, joining three others that, in 2008, were the subject of the first-ever pictures of a planetary system orbiting a star other than our sun.
The solar system, discovered by a team from LLNL and the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics with collaborators at the University of California, Los Angeles and Lowell Observatory, orbits around a dusty young star named HR8799, which is 129 light years away. All four planets are roughly five to seven times the mass of Jupiter.
Using high-contrast, near infrared adaptive optics on the Keck II telescope in Hawaii, the astronomers imaged the fourth planet (dubbed HR8799e) in 2009 and confirmed its existence and orbit in 2010. Macintosh is an expert in using adaptive optics to image astronomical phenomena.
Macintosh also heads a team that is constructing the Gemini Planet Imager, a new system that will be up to 100 times more sensitive than current instruments and able to image planets similar to our own Jupiter around nearby stars.
Each year, SPIE promotes members as new fellows of the society. Fellows are honored for their technical achievement, for their service to the general optics community and to SPIE in particular. More than 800 SPIE members have become fellows since the society's inception in 1955.
Macintosh will be recognized and receive a certificate at the Photonics West conference, which will be Held Jan. 23-27 in San Francisco.