Dr. Joe Llama
Exoplanets / Stellar Astronomy
PhD University of St. Andrews, 2014
Dr. Llama joined Lowell Observatory’s science staff in 2014. His research interests are in exoplanets and stellar astrophysics. In particular, he uses the EXtreme PREcision Spectrograph (EXPRES) on the 4.3-m Lowell Discovery Telescope (LDT) to measure the masses of Earth-sized exoplanets. He recently built and commissioned the Lowell Observatory Solar Telescope (LOST), a 70-mm telescope that sends sunlight into EXPRES to observe our own star in an identical way to the stars we observe at night with the LDT. Dr. Llama uses the data collected with LOST and EXPRES to understand how activity from a star from spots, faculae, and plage limits our ability to detect the smallest exoplanets and to determine methods to remove these signals from the data we collect on other star systems.
Dr. Llama is also a science team member of the Star Planet Activity CubeSat (SPARCS), led by former Lowell astronomer Dr. Evgenya Shkolnik at Arizona State University. SPARCS is a small satellite (about the size of a shoe box) that will stare at low-mass stars in the ultraviolet (a wavelength that we cannot observe from the ground) to better understand how flares impact the potential for habitability for planets around these types of star.
Check out Dr. Llama’s webpage.