Christine H. Chen


Christine Chen is an Associate Astronomer at Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) where she studies the formation and evolution of planetary systems and supports future users of the JWST Mid Infrared Instrument (MIRI).  Before coming to STScI, Christine was a Spitzer Fellow at NOAO and an NRC Postdoctoral Fellow at NASA JPL where she primarily used the Spitzer Space Telescope to search for and characterize dust and gas around young stars.

Christine is deeply interested in understanding the late stages of planetary system formation and evolution to determine whether planetary systems like our own are common or rare. For example, the terrestrial planets in our Solar System were built during a series of sometimes violent collisions that created debris gas and dust. Recent results from the Kepler Mission  indicate that terrestrial planets are common. Do exo-Earths around other stars also form via oligarchic growth and giant collisions? Observations of the outer planets and KBOs in our Solar System indicate that giant planets migrated during the period of Late Heavy Bombardment, destabilizing asteroids in the Main Asteroid belt and delivering water-rich asteroids to Earth. Are exo-Earths water-rich? If so, how and when is water delivered to them? Christine uses multi-wavelength observations to constrain the composition and location of dust and therefore the history of exo-planetary systems.

Associate Astronomer

Space Telescope Science Institute

3700 San Martin Dr.

Baltimore, MD 21218



Biographical Sketch