MIT EAPS Directory

Julien de Wit

Postdoctoral Associate

Research Description

Julien’s primary interest and expertise lie in the field of data science where Math and Science are brought together to make sense of newly accessible pieces of Reality! Over the past five years, he has developed and applied new analysis techniques to map exoplanet atmospheres, study the radiative and tidal planet-star interactions in eccentric planetary systems, and constrain the atmospheric properties and mass of exoplanets solely from transmission spectroscopy.

Urgent Need

MIT has an extraordinary, time-limited opportunity to play a central role in this historical scientific initiative to discover habitats and signs of life outside of our solar system. Our goal is to raise $1,000,000 by April to build one new SPECULOOS (1-meter) telescope by fall of 2017. We already have one potential donor at $600,000, leaving just $400,000 left to raise! Can you help? To accelerate this exoplanet research and ensure MIT can join the SPECULOOS consortium, please consider making a gift to the SPECULOOS project. Call Angela Ellis at 617-253-5796 or email aellis@mit.edu for information. MORE 

Media

NASA Telescope Reveals Largest BAtch of Earth-Size, Habitable-Zone Planets Around Single Star - NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has revealed the first known system of seven Earth-size planets around a single star. Three of these planets are firmly located in the habitable zone, the area around the parent star where a rocky planet is most likely to have liquid water. | NASA Press Release

Spitzer Hears Stellar 'Hearbeat' from Planetary Companion - NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has detected unusual pulsations in the outer shell of a star called HAT-P-2. Scientists' best guess is that a closely orbiting planet, called HAT-P-2b, causes these vibrations each time it gets close to the star in its orbit. | NASA Press Release

 

NASA’s Hubble Telescope Makes First Atmospheric Study of Earth-Sized Exoplanets - On May 4, 2016, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope made the first spectroscopic measurements of two of the three known Earth-sized exoplanets in the TRAPPIST-1 system, just 40 light-years away. | NASA Press Release

ESOcast 83: Ultracool Dwarf with Planets - Astronomers using telescopes at ESO's observatories in Chile have discovered three planets around a dim dwarf star just 40 light-years from Earth. These worlds have sizes and temperatures similar to those of Venus and the Earth, and they are the best targets so far found in the hunt for life elsewhere in the Universe. | Credit: ESO

The Wild Swings of an Exoplanet - The exoplanet HD80606 b spends most of its time far from its star, but every 111 days it swings in feverishly close. NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope measured the planet's extreme temperature swings using infrared light. This allowed astronomers to simulate its atmosphere. | Visuals credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA's Spitzer Maps Climate Patterns on a Super-Earths (Animation)
Video courtesy NASA Spitzer/ youtube | Accompanying NASA press release

NASA Space Telescopes Find Patchy Clouds on Exotic World 
NASA Press Release

Publications

Julien de Wit et al. (2016), Planet-induced stellar pulsations in HAT-P-2's eccentric system, Astrophysical Journal Letters, doi: 10.3847/2041-8213/836/2/L17

de Wit, J. et al. (2016), A combined transmission spectrum of the Earth-sized exoplanets TRAPPIST-1 b and c, Nature (published online July 20 2016), doi: 10.1038/nature18641

Gillon, M., Jehin, E., Lederer, S., Delrez, L., de Wit, J., et al. (2016), Temperate Earth-sized planets transiting a nearby ultracool dwarf star, Nature 533, 221–224 (12 May 2016), doi: 10.1038/nature17448

Demory, B.-O., Gillon, M., de Wit, J., et al. (2016), A map of the large day–night temperature gradient of a super-Earth exoplanet, Nature 532, 207–209 (14 April 2016), doi: 10.1038/nature17169

de Wit, J., Lewis N. K., Langton J., Laughlin G., et al. (2016), Direct Measure of Radiative and Dynamical Properties of an Exoplanet Atmosphere, The Astrophysical Journal Letters, Volume 820, Number 2, doi: 10.3847/2041-8205/820/2/L33

Parmentier, V., Showman, A. P., and de Wit, J. (2015), Unveiling the atmospheres of giant exoplanets with an EChO-class mission, Experimental Astronomy, Volume 40, Issue 2-3, pp. 481-500, doi: 10.1007%2Fs10686-014-9395-0

de Wit, J. and S. Seager (2013), Constraining Exoplanet Mass from Transmission Spectroscopy, Science (20 Dec 2013), Vol. 342, Issue 6165, pp. 1473-1477, doi: 10.1126/science.1245450Science 342:1473-1473

Demory, B.-O., de Wit, J., Lewis, N., Fortney, J., Zsom, A., Seager, S., Knutson, K., Heng, K., Madhusudan, N., Gillon, M., Barclay, T., Desert, J.-M., Parmentier, V., Cowan, N. B. (2013), Inference of Inhomogeneous Clouds in an Exoplanet Atmosphere, The Astrophysical Journal Letters, Volume 776, Number 2, doi: 10.1088/2041-8205/776/2/L25 

Zsom, A., Seager S., de Wit, J., Stamenkovic, V. (2013), Towards the Minimum Inner Edge Distance of the Habitable Zone, The Astrophysical Journal, Volume 778, Number 2, doi: 10.1088/0004-637X/778/2/109

de Wit, J., Gillon, M., Demory, B.-O., Seager, S. (2012), Towards consistent mapping of distant worlds: Secondary-eclipse scanning of the exoplanet HD 189733b, Astronomy & Astrophysics, Vol. 548 (December 2012) A128, doi: 10.1051/0004-6361/201219060

Awards

2015 AILg Early Carrer Scientific Award | 2011-2014 WBI-World Excellence Fellow | 2012 Belgian American Educational Foundation Fellow | 2012 Top Industrial Manager for Europe Award | 2011 Odissea Prize of the Belgian Senate | 2011 ArcelorMittal Best Master Thesis Award (A.I.Lg) | 2011 Grayce B. Kerr Fellow | 2010 Duesberg-Baily Thil Lorrain Foundation Fellow

Contact Information

t: 617 258 0209

e: jdewit@mit.edu

Office

54-1726

Education

PhD. Planetary Sciences, MIT, 2014
M. Aerospace Engineering, Université de Liège, 2011
SUPAERO Graduate Engineer, Institut Supérieur de l'Aéronautique et de l'Espace, 2010