Sarah E. Moran

PTYS/LPL Postdocs

Kuiper 425


Sarah E. Moran (she, her, hers)

Director's Postdoctoral Fellow

Ph.D. Planetary Sciences, 2021, Johns Hopkins University

Astrobiology, Exoplanets, Planetary Astronomy, Planetary Atmospheres, Titan & Outer Solar System

Planetary atmospheric chemistry, aerosols, clouds and hazes

Advisor(s): Mark S. Marley

Dr. Sarah E. Moran joined LPL as the Director's Postdoctoral Fellow in January 2022. She studies planets around other stars, known as exoplanets, and worlds of the outer Solar System. Through laboratory experiments and computer models, she investigates clouds and hazes in planetary atmospheres to figure out how they affect the overall atmosphere, how they alter remote sensing and telescope observations, and how they impact habitability. Sarah also works with observational astronomers, especially through the STARGATE collaboration, to help them interpret her theoretical and experimental cloud and haze results in the context of transiting exoplanet observations. She is also passionate about science communication and science policy. 

[23] A JWST Transmission Spectrum of a Nearby Earth-Sized Exoplanet, Lustig-Yaeger, J., Fu, G., May, E.M., Ortiz Ceballos, K.N., Moran, S.E., et al. (18 additional coauthors), Nature Astronomy, accepted April 2023.

[22] High Tide or Rip-Tide on the Cosmic Shoreline? A Water-Rich Atmosphere or Stellar Contamination on GJ 486b from JWST Observations, Moran, S.E. and Stevenson, K.B., Sing, D.K., MacDonald, R.J., et al. (19 additional coauthors), Astrophysical Journal Letters, 948, [L11]. DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/accb9c. 2023.

[21]  Early Release Science of the exoplanet WASP-39b with JWST NIRCam, Ahrer, E.-M., Stevenson, K.B., Mansfield, M., Moran, S.E. (theory lead), et al. (95 additional coauthors), Nature, DOI: 10.1038/s41586-022-05590-4. 2023. 

[20] Early Release Science of the exoplanet WASP-39b with JWST NIRISS, Feinstein, A.D., Radica, M., Welbanks, L., and 86 coauthors, including Moran, S.E. , Nature, DOI: 10.1038/s41586-022-05674-1. 2023. 

[19] Early Release Science of the exoplanet WASP-39b with JWST NIRSpec G395H, Alderson, L., Wakeford, H.R., Alam, M.K., and 89 coauthors, including Moran, S.E., Nature. DOI: 10.1038/s41586-022-05591-3. 2023.

[18]  Early Release Science of the exoplanet WASP-39b with JWST NIRSpec PRISM, Rustamkulov, Z., Sing, D.K., Mukherjee, S., and 91 coauthors, including Moran, S.E., Nature. DOI: 10.1038/s41586-022-05677-y. 2023. 

[17]  Photochemically-produced SO2 in the Atmosphere of WASP-39b, Tsai, S.-M., Lee, E. K. H., Powell, D., and 82 coauthors, including Moran, S.E., Nature, DOI:10.1038/s41586-023-05902-2. 2023. 

[16] The JWST Early Release Science Program for Direct Observations of Exoplanetary Systems II: A 1 to 20 Micron Spectrum of the Planetary-Mass Companion VHS 1256-1257 b, Miles, B.E., Biller, B.A., Patapis, and 107 coauthors including Moran, S.E. (Tier 1 contributor), Astrophysical Journal Letters, 946 (1), [L6]. DOI:10.3847/2041-8213/acb04a. 2023. 

[15] The JWST Early Release Science Program for Direct Observations of Exoplanetary Systems I: High Contrast Imaging of the Exoplanet HIP 65426 b from 2 - 16 microns, Carter, A., Hinkley, S., Kammerer, J., and 107 coauthors including Moran, S.E. AAS Journals, accepted May 2023

[14] Identification of Carbon Dioxide in an Exoplanet Atmosphere, JWST Transiting Exoplanet Community Early Release Science Team (127 coauthors, including Moran, S.E., Tier 1 contributor), Nature. DOI: 10.1038/s41586-022-05269-w. 2022. 

[13] HST/WFC3 transmission spectroscopy of the cold rocky planet TRAPPIST-1h, Garcia, L.J., Moran, S.E., Rackham, B.V., Wakeford, H.R., Gillon, M., de Wit, J., Lewis, N.K., Astronomy and Astrophysics. DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/202142603. 2022.

[12] Triton Haze Analogues: the Role of Carbon Monoxide in Haze Formation,  Moran, S.E., Hörst, S. M., He, C., Radke, M.J., Izenberg, N.R., Sebree, J. A., Vuitton, V., Flandinet, L., Orthous-Daunay, F.-R., Wolters, C.  Journal of Geophysical Research - Planets,  127 (1). DOI: 10.1029/2021JE006984. 2022.

[11] Neptune Odyssey: A Flagship Concept for the Exploration of the Neptune-Triton System, Rymer, A.M., Runyon, K.D., Clyde, B. and 69 coauthors including Moran, S.E. Planetary Science Journal, 2 (5) (Special Issue, Planetary Decadal Mission Concept Studies), DOI: 10.3847/PSJ/abf654. 2021. 

[10] Haze Evolution in Temperate Exoplanet Atmospheres through Surface Energy Measurements, Yu, X., Zhang, X., Hörst, S.M., He, C., Dymont, A. H., McGuiggan, P., Lewis, N.K., Moses,   J.I., Fortney, J.J., Gao, P., Kempton, E.M.-R., Moran, S.E., Morley, C.V., Powell, D., Valenti, J.A., Vuitton, V. Nature Astronomy 5, 822-831. DOI: 10.1038/s41550-021-01375-3. 2021. 

[9] L 98-59: a Benchmark System of Small Planets for Future Atmospheric Characterization, Pidhorodetska, D., Moran, S.E., Schwieterman, E.W., Fauchez, T.J., Barclay, T.F., Quintana, E.V., Domagal-Goldman, S.D., Lewis, N.K., Villanueva, G.L., Schlieder, J.E., Gilbert, E.A., Kostov, V.B. Astrophysical Journal, 162 (4), [169]. DOI: 10.3847/1538-3881/ac1171. 2021. 

[8] Aerosols in Exoplanet Atmospheres, Gao, P., Wakeford, H.R., Moran, S.E., Parmentier, V. Journal of Geophysical Research - Planets, 126 (4) (Invited Review for Special Issue, "Exoplanets: the Nexus of Astronomy and Geoscience").  DOI: 10.1029/2020JE006655. 2021. 

[7] H2SO4 and Organosulfur Compounds in Laboratory Analogue Aerosols of Warm High Metallicity Exoplanet Atmospheres, Vuitton, V., Moran, S.E., He, C., Wolters, C., Flandinet, L., Orthous-Daunay, F.-R., Moses, J. I., Valenti, J.A., Lewis, N.K., Hörst, S.M. Planetary Science Journal, 2 (2). DOI: 10.3847/PSJ/abc558. 2021. 

[6] Chemistry of Temperate Super-Earth and Mini-Neptune Atmospheric Hazes from Laboratory Experiments, Moran, S.E., Hörst, S.M., Vuitton, V., He, C., Lewis, N.K., Flandinet, L., Moses, J.I., North, N., Orthous-Daunay, F.-R., Sebree, J., Wolters, C., M-R. Kempton, E., Marley, M.S., Morley, C.V., Valenti, J.A. Planetary Science Journal, 1 (17). DOI: 10.3847/PSJ/ab8eae. 2020.

[5] Sulfur-driven Haze Formation in Warm CO2-rich Exoplanet Atmospheres, He, C., Hörst, S.M., Lewis, N.K., Yu, X., Moses, J.I., McGuiggan, P., Marley, M.S., Kempton, E. M.-R., Moran, S.E., Morley, C.V., Vuitton, V. Nature Astronomy 4, 986–993. DOI: 10.1038/s41550-020-1072-9. 2020.

[4] The L 98-59 System: Three Transiting, Terrestrial-size Planets Orbiting a Nearby M Dwarf, Kostov, V.B., Schlieder, J.E., Barclay, T., and 112 coauthors, including Moran, S.E., Astronomical Journal, 158 (1), [32]. DOI: 10.3847/1538-3881/ab2459. 2019. 

[3] Disentangling the planet from the star in late type M dwarfs: A case study of TRAPPIST-1g, Wakeford, H.R., Lewis, N.K., Fowler, J., Bruno, G., Wilson, T.J., Moran, S.E. (atmospheric theory lead), Valenti, J., Batalha, N.E., Filippazzo, J., Bourrier, V., Hörst, S.M., Lederer, S.M., de Wit, J. Astronomical Journal, 157 (1), [11]. DOI: 10.3847/1538-3881/aaf04d. 2019.

[2] Limits on Clouds and Hazes for the TRAPPIST-1 Planets, Moran, S.E., Hörst, S.M., Batalha, N.E., Lewis, N.K., Wakeford, H.R. Astronomical Journal, 156 (6), [252]. DOI: 10.3847/1538-3881/aae83a (Research Highlight in Nature Astronomy; Research Highlight in AAS Nova). 2018.

[1] The Composite Spectrum of Boss Quasars Selected for Studies of the Lyα Forest. Harris, D. W., et. al. (including Moran, S.E.), Astronomical Journal, 151 (6), [155]. DOI: 10.3847/0004-6256/151/6/155. 2016.

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