My current research aims to study the dynamics of the upper atmospheres of close-in gas giant planets that have been discovered orbiting other stars. These so-called "hot Jupiters" are subject to intense radiation and orbit in the magnetized wind of their host stars. I am calculating the structure using numerical magnetohydrodynamic simulations to better understand mass/angular momentum loss from highly irradiated exoplanets. A better model of the planet's upper atmosphere can help us better interpret observations of hot Jupiters that can probe the atmosphere as it leaves its fingerprint on starlight as the planet crosses the disk of its host star.

In the past, I have also constructed numerical models of outflows from the disks surrounding low-mass, nascent stars. I have also worked on UV/optical surveys of active galaxies with the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) and data from the Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) satellite, as well as spectrograph performance analysis of instruments on the Hobby-Eberly Telescope of the McDonald Observatory. I have also worked with high-resolution spectra of white dwarfs and main-sequence stars.

Department of Astronomy
University of Virginia
P.O. Box 400325, Charlottesville, VA 22904-4325
Phone: (434)-924-7935 - Fax: (434)-924-3104