How do planets form? What happens to a planetary system when its central star dies? These two questions drive the bulk of my research in Astronomy. I think answering these questions will tell us important things about how many habitable planets reside in our Milky Way and the ultimate fate of the Solar System.
You can connect with me on twitter @John.Debes, contact me by email: "debes" at "stsci.edu", or at my office: (410)338-4782
Paper on Fomalhaut Accepted to ApJ Letters9.03.2013
I am co-author of a new paper submitted to ApJ Letters on re-analyzing deep archival Keck/NIRC2 data for additional companions to Fomalhaut. We find no new convincing candidates, which makes the Fomalhaut system qualitatively much different from HR 8799. My work involved analyzing the astrometry of candidate sources seen over multiple epochs
TW Hya Press Release6.04.2013 My latest paper on the scattered light spectrum of TW Hya has been featured in an STScI Press Release (as well as through NASA, Carnegie-DTM, and U. Wyoming). Besides gorgeous images of the TW Hya protoplanetary disk, we announce the discovery of a strange gap at 80 AU. If caused by a planet, the object would have a mass similar to either a super-Earth or Neptune. Plus, check out the nice coverage in io9 and Forbes Online
WIRED IV Paper Published!6.01.2013
The latest WIRED paper focuses on bright nearby WDs in the McCook & Sion catalog--we find six candidate excesses that we attribute to dusty disks. Surprisingly, some of the weakest excesses don't show accretion of Ca in the WD photospheres, which means the excesses might not be dust or could be weak disks that have very low accretion rates.