Episode 69: Where are the Aliens?

Meet the Expert: Dr. Ryan MacDonald, theoretical physicist

Dr, Ryan MacDonald


Dr. Ryan MacDonald is a theoretical astrophysicist researching exoplanet atmospheres at Cornell University’s Carl Sagan Institute. He develops techniques to characterize the atmospheres of these distant worlds using ground and space-based telescopes.

Dr. MacDonald is currently working on modeling exoplanet atmospheres in preparation for the launch of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope in late 2021.

He completed a PhD in Astronomy at the University of Cambridge, England, in 2019. His PhD research focused on deriving the chemical composition, temperature structure, and cloud properties of exoplanets – ranging from inferno gas giants to Neptune-mass worlds. These same techniques will soon enable astronomers to look for signs of life on habitable zone rocky planets.
Here are a few exoplanet concept videos. This one is of  51 PEG b
This one is of a Hot Jupiter Planet (courtesy of ESA space telescope.org)



Find a planet!! Go to Planet Hunters TESS and learn how to look for a planet.

LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW  about your experience of searching for a planet. We LOVE hearing from you!! If you liked this episode, leave a comment below OR share with us on our Twitter , Instagram or Facebook page.


Beyond book by Miranda Paul


Highlighted book for this episode! 

Beyond: Discoveries from the Outer Reaches of Space
by Miranda Paul (Author), Sija Hong (Illustrator)







Book List: 

How We Got to the Moon: The People, Technology, and Daring Feats of Science Behind Humanity’s Greatest Adventure by John Rocco

The Hubble Space Telescope: Our Eye on the Universe by Terence Dickinson and Tracy Read

Exoplanets by Seymour Simon

Exploring Exoplanets by Deborah Kops

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