Joost Wardenier is a Trottier Postdoctoral Fellow at iREx. His research focuses on the characterisation of exoplanet atmospheres. Specifically, Joost is interested in unravelling the 3D structure of the atmospheres of the hottest planets in the Milky Way: ultra-hot Jupiters. One of the best ways to study ultra-hot Jupiters is through a technique known as high-resolution spectroscopy, which provides access to the individual absorption and emission lines in a planet spectrum. Joost uses a combination of computer models and telescope data to bridge the gap between theory and observation.
Before moving to Montréal, Joost completed his PhD in atmospheric, oceanic and planetary physics at the University of Oxford. In Oxford, he helped develop a 3D Monte-Carlo radiative transfer code (gCMCRT) that can simulate high-resolution transmission and emission spectra for arbitrary planet atmospheres. gCMCRT accounts for the atmosphere’s 3D chemistry, temperature structure, cloud coverage, and Doppler shifts caused by planet rotation and the 3D wind profile. In one of his projects, Joost successfully combined gCMCRT with the outputs of a general circulation model to show that the Doppler shifts observed in the transmission spectrum of WASP-76b are due to an asymmetry between the eastern and western limbs of the planet.
Joost completed two bachelor’s degrees (physics and astronomy) and a master’s degree (astronomy) at Leiden University in the Netherlands. Across three research projects, he worked on wavefront sensing and adaptive optics, 1D retrievals for cloudy exoplanet atmospheres, and optical interferometry for ground-based telescopes. His master’s thesis was awarded the “De Zeeuw-Van Dishoeck Prize” for the best astronomy thesis in the Netherlands in 2019.