Research Projects

Our observational research is mainly divided between two areas. We use transit observations to study exoplanet atmospheres, and we use radial velocity observations to detect and measure the masses of new planets.

Transit Spectroscopy

We use transit spectroscopy techniques to reveal the atmospheric compositions and physical conditions of exoplanets ranging from the hottest hot Jupiters to rocky planets in the habitable zones of their host stars. We are currently focused on using high-resolution spectrographs on large ground-based telescopes (primarily IGRINS and MAROON-X on Gemini) and eagerly awaiting first science with JWST. We are involved in eight JWST Cycle 1 programs totaling nearly 300 hours. A few key programs include The Transiting Exoplanet Community Early Release Science Program, a large GTO program, and a GJ1214b phase curve program. We are also involved in the european ARIEL mission through a NASA contribution called CASE.

Atmospheric metallicity vs plant mass plot with exoplanet measurements from our group. Over the last few years we have pursued measurements from a wide range of diagnostics, using multiple chemical species and data obtained with ground- and space-based facilities.

Radial Velocity

We have recently installed a new radial velocity spectrograph called MAROON-X at the 8m Gemini-N telescope. Over the next few years we will be carrying out a program focused on confirming and measuring the masses of small transiting planets in and near the habitable zones of mid to late M dwarfs using this instrument. Our goal is to identify the best targets for JWST and ELT atmospheric studies aimed at deepening our understanding of planetary habitability.

MAROON-X installed in its environmental control chamber 45 feet below the 8m Gemini North telescope.