Andrew Ridden-Harper is a postdoctoral fellow at Las Cumbres Observatory (LCO) and studies planets outside our solar system (exoplanets).
He began his studies at the University of Canterbury in his hometown of Christchurch, New Zealand. During these studies, he also attended summer research programs at the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia.
Andrew obtained a PhD at Leiden University in the Netherlands and then worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, USA.
In his PhD research, Andrew used high-resolution spectroscopy and simulations to study hot rocky exoplanets.
As a postdoctoral researcher at Cornell University, Andrew’s focus broadened to include a more diverse range of exoplanets. He used various high-resolution spectrographs to investigate the atmospheric composition of several exoplanets. As part of this effort, Andrew was instrumental in establishing the Exoplanets with Gemini Spectroscopy (ExoGemS) survey, to characterize the atmospheres of a diverse sample of exoplanets. Andrew also used data from the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satelite (TESS) to analyze exoplanet transit timing variations and search for orbital evolution.
Andrew now uses LCO’s global network of telescopes to observe transits of long-period exoplanets that cannot be observed from a single ground-based observatory. He also uses LCO’s Network of Robotic Echelle Spectrographs (NRES) to search for comets around other stars (exocomets) and better understand exoplanet host stars.