Institute of Astronomy

- Ryan MacDonald

E-mail: rm793@ast.cam.ac.uk

Personal Homepage

Office: Hoyle H27
Office Tel: (01223) 766653
More Info (Internal)

Preprints
Publications

Research Themes: Star Formation and Exoplanets

Research Keywords: Planets, Spectroscopy, Theory

Research

My research focuses on the atmospheric characterisation of transiting extrasolar planets. I work with Dr Nikku Madhusudhan to develop new atmospheric retrieval tools to extract the atmospheric properties (chemical composition, temperature, clouds etc.) of exoplanets.

Further information on my research can be found on my personal website.

Research highlights

2017:

  • First conclusive detection of titanium oxide (TiO) in an exoplanetary atmosphere.
  • First evidence of nitrogen chemistry (NH3 / HCN) in hot Jupiter exoplanets.

Selected papers

  1. MacDonald, R.J., Marley, M.S., Fortney, J.J., & Lewis N.K., 2018, 'Exploring H2O Prominence in Reflection Spectra of Cool Giant Planets' - ApJ 858, 69
  2. MacDonald, R.J. & Madhusudhan, N., 2017, 'Signatures of Nitrogen Chemistry in Hot Jupiter Atmospheres' - ApJL 850, L15
  3. Sedaghati, E., Boffin, H.M.J., MacDonald, R.J., et al., 2017, 'Detection of titanium oxide in the atmosphere of a hot Jupiter' - Nature 549, 238
  4. MacDonald, R.J. & Madhusudhan, N., 2017, 'HD 209458b in New Light: Evidence of Nitrogen Chemistry, Patchy Clouds and Sub-Solar Water'MNRAS 469, 1979

Career

2015-Present: PhD in Astronomy (Cambridge)

Supervisor: Dr Nikku Madhusudhan

Project: Inverse Modelling Methods for the Characterisation of Exoplanetary Atmospheres

2016: Kavli Summer Program in Astrophysics Fellow (UC Santa Cruz)

Supervisor: Dr Mark S. Marley

Project: Water Absorption Signatures in Cool Giant Planets

2015: Masters Research Student (Oxford)

Supervisors: Dr Neil Bowles & Dr Kerri Donaldson Hanna

Project: Phobos Sample Return via Thermal-IR Profiling

2014: Venus Express Data Analyst (Oxford)

Supervisor: Dr Colin Wilson

Project: Correlations Between Temperature Structure and UV Contrasts in the Clouds of Venus

 

Qualifications

PhD, Astronomy - University of Cambridge (2015-present)

MPhys, Physics (1st Class) - University of Oxford (2011-2015)

Awards and Prizes

2017: Paul Murdin Prize - Best published journal paper produced by a current Cambridge Institute of Astronomy Ph.D. student (joint award).

Page last updated: 8 October 2018 at 17:07