In September 2020, Planétarium Rio Tinto Alcan scientific advisor Jonathan Gagné joined the Université de Montréal’s physics department as an associate professor. At the same time, he became an associate member of the Institute for Research on Exoplanets (iREx).
Prof. Gagné’s research focuses on brown dwarfs, exoplanets and young stars in the neighbourhood of the Sun. He is also interested in objects that aren’t quite planets or brown dwarfs. These objects, sometimes referred to as “nomad planets,” have a mass similar to gas planets, but are isolated in space and do not orbit around a star. To gain a better understanding of these nomads, Prof. Gagné is mining data from the Gaia mission, which provides measurements of unparalleled accuracy on the movement and distance of over a billion stars.
Prof. Gagné is involved in a dozen or so international projects, including Backyard Worlds: Planet 9, which is seeking to discover new brown dwarfs, among other things, in the solar neighbourhood with help from citizen scientists. He has been the lead author of some 15 scientific papers in specialized journals and has contributed to some 50 others.
To find out more about Jonathan Gagné and follow what he is doing at the Planétarium Rio Tinto Alcan, check out his blog