Jonathan Gagné is a Scientific Advisor at the Planétarium and an Associate Professor at the Université de Montréal. He completed his Doctorate in Astrophysics in 2015, then a 3-year postdoctoral fellowship at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington DC, as a “Carl Sagan Fellowship” fellow. He then returned to Montréal to begin a second postdoctoral fellowship at the Institute for Research on Exoplanets (iREx).
His expertise focuses on brown dwarfs, young stars, exoplanets, associations of young stars and the collection of astronomical data with the use of a telescope. He uses the telescope at the Mont-Mégantic Observatory as much as others located in Hawaii and Chile. Since the launch of the Gaia satellite by the European Space Agency, Jonathan Gagné has used these new data, among other things, to discover hundreds of small-mass stars that belong to associations of young stars. This allows him to better understand the fundamental properties of these very small stars : a crucial step in understanding the properties of the exoplanets that orbit around them, which is the reality for most exoplanets!
He is involved in several international collaborative projects, including Backyard Worlds: Planet 9, which focus on discovering and studying brown dwarfs. His research projects have led him to discover several of the first brown dwarfs whose masses are so small that they are similar to giant gaseous exoplanets floating freely in space, rather than orbiting a star. These rare objects are sometimes called planemos.
In his spare time, Jonathan Gagné is a coffee buff and loves to refine his barista skills to explore the potential of coffee from various origins around the world.