néstorespinoza

Astrophysicist


I'm Néstor Espinoza, an Assistant Astronomer at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, USA. My research interests are exoplanets: from detection and characterization to how they form and what they are made of.

Half my time at STScI is spent discovering and characterizing new transiting exoplanets. On the discovery side, a big portion of my work involves searching for new exoplanets with TESS: I work both, on searching for warm giant exoplanets as co-PI of the WINE survey and on the search for small, terrestial planets around small stars as co-lead of the CARMENES-TESS Working Package. On the characterization side, I'm very interested in the atmospheric characterization of transiting exoplanets. I'm a key member of the ACCESS survey (on which I based my PhD thesis), a project dedicated to obtaining precise ground-based optical transmission spectra of giant exoplanets. I'm also the PI of a handful of projects trying to detect new exoplanet atmospheric physics using TESS and the upcoming JWST. Finally, I'm also very interested on precise modelling of exoplanetary astrophysical signatures, and on open-source modelling and analysis tools. This led me to lead the development of juliet, a versatile modelling tool for transiting and non-transiting exoplanetary systems and co-lead the development of catwoman, a tool for modelling asymmetric transit lightcurves.

The other half of my time at STScI is spent on providing support for the JWST mission. I'm part of the Near-InfraRed Imager and Slitless Spectrograph (NIRISS) branch. NIRISS is one of the four instruments onboard the JWST, which is going to be key for transiting exoplanetary science. Here, my work has been mainly focused on analysis and simulations of time-series observations (TSOs) using the Single Object Slitless Spectroscopy (SOSS) mode, which is NIRISS's main mode for transiting exoplanetary science. In paralell to this work, I'm currently the scientific lead of the Exoplanet Characterization Toolkit (ExoCTK), which compiles tools to aid JWST proposers interested in doing exoplanetary science with Webb and the current lead of STScI's Time-Series Observations Working Group.

E-mail: nespinoza at stsci.edu | Phone: +1 (410) 338 4311