Artist's view of a transiting exoplanet
Artist's impression of a planet around an M dwarf.
ESO/L. Cal├žada

Recent Results:

2015 Jan: Surveys for new planets using the transit and radial velocity techniques reveal the high frequency with which small, short-period planets occur around main sequence stars. However, only a few of these smaller planets can be easily observed to characterize their atmosphere; even fewer are known around low-mass M stars, though these planetary systems may be the most common in the Galaxy. Our team has just discovered three small planets orbiting a bright, nearby M star using data collected by K2, a new mission using the re-purposed Kepler spacecraft. We find that the system hosts three transiting planets, all with sizes just 1.5 to 2 times larger than the Earth. Thus these new planets likey straddle the transition region between rocky and increasingly gas-dominated compositions. With an orbital period ('years') of 45 days, the third planet receives roughly as much heat from its star as do Earth or Venus, placing the planet near its star's habitable zone and making it one of the coolest small planets known orbiting a nearby star. The bright, low-mass star makes this system an excellent laboratory to determine the planets' masses via Doppler spectroscopy and to constrain their atmospheric compositions via transit observations with the Hubble and James Webb Space Telescope. Download the paper or read all about it here.

About Me:

I am a Sagan Fellow at the Lunar and Planetary Lab at Tucson's University of Arizona. My interests lie in exoplanet formation, composition, detection, and characterization, and the development of instrumentation to further those pursuits. I am currently studying extrasolar planets using both photometry and high-resolution spectroscopy from the ground and space. I have worked for two years at the MPIA in Heidelberg, Germany and for three years at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and I received my doctorate from UCLA. I also maintain an online repository of useful Python computing tools.

IJMC Photo

Publications, Proceedings, and Talks

Curriculum Vitae


Contact Information:

Ian J. M. Crossfield
Office: Kuiper Space Sciences 401
Lunar and Planetary Laboratory
1629 E. University Blvd.
Tucson, AZ 85721