Dr Daniel Apai, Assistant Professor, Astronomy and Planetary Sciences
Daniel’s research encompasses exoplanet and brown dwarf atmospheres, planet formation, and the search for habitable exoplanets. He is leading multiple HST and Spitzer programs to characterize the physical structure and dust properties in circumstellar disks and also uses these facilities for time-resolved observations of rotating brown dwarfs. His work also includes connecting the stages of planet formation in the Solar System to those observed in protoplanetary disks around other stars. He is leading the Extrasolar Storms, the Earths in Other Systems, and the Cloud Atlas programs.
Dr Theodora Karalidi, Postdoctoral Researcher
Following an early interest in astronomy I acquired my bachelor degree in Physics (direction Astrophysics, Astronomy and Mechanics) from the University of Athens, Greece. During my master studies in the Astronomical Institute of Utrecht University, the Netherlands, I got interested in the field of (exo)planets. In April 2013 I got my PhD in Broadband Polarimetry of Exoplanets from Leiden University,in the Netherlands. I have been mostly interested in the characterization of directly detected exoplanets and astrobiology. Since though, it will probably take decades until we directly detect the first terrestrial exoplanet, we need to test our observation and characterization techniques on other targets. Brown dwarfs are intriguing astrophysical objects that offer us ideal targets, without most of the problems of the direct detection of exoplanets. As part of the Extrasolar Storms project I look forward to using my models for the characterization of these fascinating objects.
Projects: Extrasolar Storms, Cloud Atlas
Dr Elena Manjavacas, Postdoctoral Researcher
Projects: Extrasolar Storms, Cloud Atlas
Dr Jon Rees, Postdoctoral Researcher
Projects: Omega Centauri HST Treasury Program
I am a second year graduate student of Planetary Science. I am interested in further understanding the characteristics and formation of exoplanets. Currently, I am searching for brown dwarf exoplanets in the habitable zone. While majoring in physics in National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan, I conducted research in various fields, ranging from protostellar core, microlensing events to optical counterpart of x-ray binary.
Projects: Cloud Atlas
UA Astronomy Graduate Student, NSF Graduate Research Fellow
Ben studies the atmospheres of exoplanets via ground-based observations. He uses spectroscopic and photometric approaches to investigate molecular absorption and emission features of super-earths and hot jupiters, which constrain atmospheric models of these planets. These techniques can be applied to future projects characterizing the atmospheres of Earth-like planets in the habitable zones of nearby stars.
Projects: ACCESS, EOS
UA Astronomy Graduate Student and NSF Graduate Research Fellow
I completed my Bachelor of Science degree at University of Cincinnati in 2015 with majors in Astrophysics, Physics, and Mathematics. My previous research has focused on identifying signs of planet formation in structures within circumstellar disks. I’m currently a first year graduate student at Steward Observatory supported through the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program. I’m working on combining Spitzer/IRAC images from the Extrasolar Storms campaign to search for low mass co-moving companions to the brown dwarfs. Afterwards, I will be analyzing data from VLT/SPHERE to search for directly imaged giant exoplanets.
Projects: Scorpion Survey
Yifan Zhou, UA Astronomy Graduate Student
NASA Earth and Space Science Fellow, TRIF Graduate Research Fellow
Yifan is characterizing exoplanet atmosphere with high contrast, temporary resolved HST images. He is measuring high precision photometry and applying rotational mapping techniques to exoplanets. He is trying to verify the prediction that exoplanets are covered by patchy clouds and compare the atmospheres of exoplanets with brown dwarfs. His observation will also provide direct measurements of rotation periods of exoplanets.
Projects: Patchy Clouds on Exoplanets, Cloud Atlas
Projects: Earths in Other Solar Systems
Past Group Members
Dr Hao Yang, Postdoctoral Researcher
Dr Esther Buenzli, Postdoc, now Postdoctoral Fellow at MPIA Heidelberg
Jake Hanson, UA Undergraduate Researcher, now ASU Astronomy Graduate Student
Justin Rogers, Astronomy Graduate student, Johns Hopkins University
Emily Berkson, UA Undergraduate Researcher, now MS student at RIT
Davin Flateau, NSF Graduate Student Research Fellow, UA LPL MS Student
Michael Iuzzolino, UA Undergraduate Student
Dr Veselin Kostov, John Hopkins Graduate Student, now NASA Postdoctoral Fellow at GSFC
William Nolan, Summer Student
Laszlo Szucs, Summer Student at STScI; now Postdoctoral Researcher at MPE Germany