About Me

I'm a third-year Astrophysics & Astronomy PhD candidate in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Michigan State University. I work in Dr. Joey Rodriguez's exoplanets group. My current interests are in the origins of "Hot Jupiters," a type of giant exoplanet that orbits extremely close to its host star.

I grew up in the scorching desert of Arizona, where I went to Arizona State University. I graduated with a BS in Physics in May of 2021, shortly after publishing my first paper in The Astrophysical Journal about presolar stardust grains formed from the ejected material of supernovae. In the Summer of 2021, I stepped foot in Michigan for the first time and decided to call it my home.

Outside of the world of science, I'm a huge fan of all things nature. When I'm not cooped up inside studying for classes or grading my students' labs, you might find me exploring the lakes and forests in the Lansing area. I'm also a big soccer fan and an avid reader, so if I'm not outside enjoying temperatures below 110℉, I might be cheering on Arsenal or reading a good sci-fi book.

My Research

The first exoplanet ever discovered around a main sequence star in 1995 was a Hot Jupiter. The discovery shocked the planetary science and astronomy community at the time, as giant planets were not expected to be found so close to their host stars. This discovery launched a new field and along with it a host of unanswered questions. My research aims to answer perhaps the earliest of these questions.

I am currently working with Dr. Joey Rodriguez to confirm and characterize Hot Jupiters discovered by NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS). In conjunction with the work of other researchers such as Sam Yee from Princeton, my goal is to build a magnitude-limited, complete sample of Hot Jupiters so that I can probe their origins. I am currently writing a paper which will announce the confirmation of ten new Hot Jupiters orbiting FGK stars. This paper will be the first in a series of several that will be necessary to construct this sample.

The observations of my Hot Jupiter targets come from a variety of telescopes around the world. I am an active user of the SOAR 4-meter telescope in Chile and MSU's 0.6-meter campus telescope. Many of the observations that I use also come from undergraduate astronomy students in the MSU Observing Research Program (MORP). As a member of the TESS Follow-up Observing Program (TFOP), I receive photometric and spectroscopic observations from many researchers internationally.

My Outreach Efforts

I am currently heavily involved with the MSU Observing Research Program (MORP), a team of MSU astronomy undergraduates that use the MSU Observatory's 0.6-meter telescope to confirm the existence of transiting exoplanets and observe bright variable stars. I work with the MORP undergraduates to provide them with high-priority planet candidates, analyze the observations, and to write my own paper on several planets observed by MORP. MORP students have recently co-authored several planet and brown dwarf discovery papers as a result of their observations. If you are an MSU undergraduate and would like to join MORP or if you are a member of the community that would like to donate to or otherwise support the MSU Observatory or MORP, please contact me, Dr. Laura Chomiuk, or Dr. Joey Rodriguez.

MSU Observatory

I also help to run the twice-a-month public observing nights at the MSU Observatory. At each of these events, we open our doors to the astronomy-curious public and offer guests the chance to look through our 0.6-m telescope and learn about the history of the MSU Observatory. We also set up smaller telescopes in the parking lot of the observatory and welcome our guests to ask questions of the local astronomers in attendance. For more information about our public observing nights, please visit the Abrams Planetarium's website.

Starting in Spring 2023, I will be launching a new talk series at the MSU Observatory, titled All Walks of Astronomy. These talks will happen on public observing nights and will be given by a wide array of astronomers, from undergraduates and amateur astronomers to professional astronomers and astronomy faculty. These talks will be accompanied by short presentations about how to get involved with astronomy at the amateur, undergraduate, and graduate level.

There are plenty of other ways to get involved with astronomy in Lansing! Come grab a drink and see me and other local astronomers speak about fun astronomy topics at Astronomy on Tap Lansing!

Astronomy on Tap Lansing (Sep 21, 2022)


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Contact Me

I am always open to collaboration! I (semi-)regularly update my Github with the programs or pipelines that I'm building, and you are free to steal any of my code or request that I update it to make it more applicable to your interests.
Email: jschulte@msu.edu
Github: https://github.com/jackschulte