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01/20/2012 08:00:00

Heather Knutson Receives AAS Cannon Award in Astronomy

Caltech assistant professor of planetary science Heather Knutson has been named the recipient of this year's Annie J. Cannon Award in Astronomy by the American Astronomical Society (AAS). The award is given for outstanding research and promise for future research by a North American female astronomer within five years of receiving her PhD.

Knutson's research is focused on characterizing the properties of extrasolar planets, including their temperatures, compositions, and atmospheric circulation patterns using observations of eclipsing systems.

"it's been a great year for the field of exoplanets as a whole, as two of the other AAS prize winners (Caltech's John Johnson and the University of Florida's Eric Ford) also work in this area," said Knutson. "The discovery rate for new extrasolar planets has been growing exponentially in the past few years thanks to new missions such as the Kepler Telescope; with such a rich diversity of systems now available for detailed study, I'm confident that this is a field that will continue to produce exciting new results for years to come. It's my privilege to be right in the middle of it!"

Written by Allison Benter