ExoSTScI / Transiting Exoplanets Research Group

Artist's concept of nearby exoplanet LTT 1445Ac, which is the size of Earth. The rocky planet appears as a small black dot against a bright light-red sphere at image center. The star is in a triple system, with two closely orbiting red dwarfs — a pair of red dots — seen at upper right. Another exoplanet in the system, LTT 1445Ab is in the foreground at lower left.
Artist's concept of the nearby exoplanet LTT 1445Ac, which is the size of Earth. (Credit: NASA, ESA, STScI, Leah Hustak)

We are a group of staff astronomers and scientists, postdoctoral researchers, and graduate students at STScI and Johns Hopkins University, dedicated to observational and theoretical studies of transiting exoplanets. We are interested in questions such as:

  • How do planetary systems form and evolve? 
  • What physical processes can be used to describe observations of exoplanet atmospheres?
  • How common are Earth-like worlds? 
  • How do stars contaminate the spectra of transiting exoplanets?

We are involved in a wide range of observational programs using the Hubble Space Telescope, JWST and major ground-based facilities. Our group has collaborations with the Extrasolar Planetary Systems Imaging Group (EPSIG) and the Star and Planet Formation (SPF) research group at STScI, as well as external collaborations with researchers at JHU, Carnegie, UMD and many other institutions.

Leads: Munazza Alam, Leonardo dos Santos, Néstor Espinoza, Joshua Lothringer 

Members (not exhaustive)*:  Susan Mullally, Nikolay Nikolov, Jeff Valenti, Natalie Allen, Quentin Changeat, Rachel Cooper, Joseph Filippazzo, Amélie Gressier, Patrick McCreery, Lauren Miller, Brett Morris, Richard O'Steen, Lakeisha Ramos-Rosado, Gavin Wang

Local collaborators:  Guangwei Fu, Samuel Grunblatt,  David Sing

Research Topics:

  • Exoplanet atmospheres
  • Transits
  • Time series analysis
  • Transmission and emission spectroscopy
  • Phase curves
  • Atmospheric escape and evolution
  • High-resolution spectroscopy
  • Radial velocities
  • Instrumentation
  • Panchromatic spectroscopy
  • Planetary formation
  • Stellar activity
  • Stellar atmospheres
  • Machine learning and numerical methods

Seminars/Journal Club: Exoplanets, Stars and Planet Formation (ESPF) Seminar Series

Conference & Symposia: STScI 2023 Spring Symposium,  AAS Winter Meeting 2022 splinter session on atmospheric escape

Related Missions & Instruments*: HSTJWST, Roman, HWO, Keck, Magellan

Related Programs: JWST Transit ERS program, PanCET, COMPASS, No-Air Program, Hot Rocks Survey

Selected Publications*: ADS library