Niall Whiteford

Photo of Niall Whiteford

Niall is an Irish astronomer who started working in the field of exoplanets (planets outside our solar system) in 2016 at Queens University Belfast as part of his MSci degree. Here, he spent a year studying the atmospheres of exoplanets such as 51 Peg b, the first exoplanet ever discovered in 1995 (the same year Niall was born). After his undergrad, Niall went to the University of Edinburgh to pursue his PhD in 2017. Here he developed atmospheric models and computational analysis techniques for telescope observations of gas giant exoplanets and brown dwarfs (objects bigger than planets but smaller than stars) as part of the James Webb Space Telescope's MIRI instrument teams. Across the 4.5 years Niall spent at University of Edinburgh, he was also a regular teaching assistant for various undergrad courses in astronomy. Upon the completion of his PhD in early 2022, Niall moved to New York and became part of the BDNYC (Brown Dwarfs New York City) group at AMNH.

Currently, Niall’s research focuses on exploring the brand new JWST data of exoplanets, trying to better understand their chemistry, clouds and formation processes. He also has a keen interest in research related to the detection of life/biosignatures outside our solar system and engaging in public outreach. Outside science Niall enjoys travelling, sports and coffee.