MIT Kavli Institute Directory

Jennifer Burt

Torres Postdoctoral Fellow Postdoctoral Scholar

Jennifer received her B.A. in Astronomy from Cornell University in 2010. She switched coasts to pursue a Ph.D in Astronomy & Astrophysics at the University of California Santa Cruz, working with Greg Laughlin and Steve Vogt on the commissioning and first science applications of the Automated Planet Finder telescope at Lick Observatory. In 2016, she moved back across the country and joined MIT as a Torres Postdoctoral Fellow focusing on precision RV measurements of exoplanets.

Research interests: 

Jennifer's research centers around the detection and characterization of exoplanets, or planets orbiting stars other than our own sun. She uses precision radial velocity measurements taken with ground based telescopes in California and Chile to monitor the spectrum of stars and search for telltale "wobbles" which indicate the presence of a planet orbiting the star. She was a key contributor to the commissioning and operation of the Automated Planet Finder telescope, and designed the software system that now allows the telescope to run autonomously each night.

In preparation for the launch of the TESS satellite, Jennifer is working to develop novel observation scheduling schemes that can be deployed on automated telescopes like the APF to ensure that RV follow up campaigns are conducted in effective and efficient manners. She plans to help characterize future TESS target stars, and determine which stars are best suited for RV follow up based on a variety of activity indexes. In addition, she assists with the continuing the legacy RV surveys happening on a variety of world class telescopes.

Research areas:
Radial Velocities
Optical/IR astronomy
Precision Measurement

Honors and awards: 

Torres Postdoctoral Fellowship, MIT, 2016

ARCS Foundation Scholar, UC Santa Cruz, 2015