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Johanna holds the Carnegie Origins Postdoctoral Fellowship, a 4-year joint position between the Carnegie Department of Terrestrial Magnetism in Washington, DC and the Carnegie Observatories in Pasadena, CA. She is interested in the chemical environments for planet formation and the compositions of exoplanets, which she learns about through studying host star compositions. How the compositions of stars vary has, for a long time, and continues to be one of astronomers' best tools for learning about the kinematic and chemical history of our Galaxy and how it compares to other galaxies. Her work takes the fundamentally important technique of stellar spectroscopy and applies it to one of the newest and most dynamic fields in astronomy -- stars other than our Sun that host planets.
Johanna also wants to find new small, terrestrial planets that might just have life, which she does by detecting stellar radial velocity variations due to orbiting planets. To help confirm small planet candidates, she uses high resolution images of potential host stars to rule out any false positives that might mimic planets. Overall, Johanna's research uses high resolution optical spectrometers and imagers mounted on big telescopes in Hawaii and Chile. Observing and tinkering with these instruments is her favorite part of her job.
In addition to science related to exoplanets, Johanna also cares deeply about making science more inclusive and supportive of a diverse community. She practices this most visibly through teaching, outreach, and mentorship, and continuously tries to learn and improve her practice.
When she is not doing any of the things above, she is probably running.
Need more information? Questions@obs.carnegiescience.edu
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