Jonathan Gagné

Associate professor at Université de Montréal, Scientific Advisor at Planétarium Rio Tinto Alcan, Espace pour la vie

Jonathan is a Scientific Advisor at Planétarium Rio Tinto Alcan, Espace pour la vie, and an associate professor at Université de Montréal.

Previously, he was a Banting postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Research on Exoplanets at Université de Montréal. His research interests range from the kinematics of stars in the neighborhood of the Sun, young associations of stars, brown dwarfs and exoplanets.

Recently he worked with data from the recent mission Gaia, which provided us with the direct measurements of distances for a billion stars with an incredible precision – a real revolution in our field of research. With this data, Jonathan’s team has identified new groups of stars that have the same age and composition, and they found a lot of faint, low-mass members in groups of stars that were already known.

He also works on the identification of cold, planetary-mass objects that are isolated in space and thus not in orbit around a star. These objects are faint and can be located anywhere in the sky, which makes them hard to discover, however they are valuable standards to understand the atmospheres of giant exoplanets. This is true because they have physical properties such as temperature, clouds, surface gravity and atmospheric pressure that are similar to those of giant exoplanets. The absence of a bright host star also makes it much easier to study these isolated objects, once we know where they are located !