Despite being located within our own Solar System, Neptune is in many ways poorly understood. Our goal is to develop a coherent picture of Neptune's global atmospheric circulation. Along the way, we are learning about cloud production and seasonal variability in the atmosphere, as well as the interactions between Neptune's atmosphere and its environment. The main tools we use are radiative transfer codes, which allow us to model Neptune's spectrum at different wavelengths in order to derive atmospheric properties such as composition and temperature, as a function of altitude and location on the planet, from our data.
My research focuses on two different wavelength ranges, the near-infrared and the millimeter. In the near-infrared, we see Neptune's clouds and hazes in reflected sunlight, and can study how the clouds vary with time and location on the planet. In the millimeter, we measure trace species in the atmosphere, which tell us about Neptune's environment and atmospheric dynamics.
This is a false color image of Neptune at near-infrared wavelengths. Red clouds are deeper in the atmosphere; blue clouds are higher up.