Dr. Heather Knutson
Professor of Planetary Science
California Institute of Technology
Adam P. Showman
Distinguished Visiting Lecturer
April 18-22, 2022
Heather Knutson studies the dynamics and chemistry of extrasolar planetary atmospheres, one of the many fields in which Professor Showman conducted pioneering research. Professor Knutson led a team including Adam that confirmed the predicted eastward shift of the substellar hotspot in the atmosphere of the exoplanet HD 189733 b. This pioneering discovery established the field of observational exoplanet meteorology. She also searches for long-period companions in exoplanetary systems and conducts precision infrared photometry and time series analysis.
Professor Knutson obtained her B.S. in physics from Johns Hopkins University in 2004 and her Ph.D. in astronomy from Harvard University in 2009. She completed her thesis work, Portraits of Distant Worlds: Characterizing the Atmospheres of Extrasolar Planets, with Professor David Charbonneau. She has been with Caltech since 2011.