Jackie Faherty

Senior Research Scientist & Senior Education Manager


Dr. Jackie Faherty received her bachelors degree in Physics from the University of Notre Dame and her PhD in Physics from Stony Brook University.  Post PhD, she spent two years at the Universidad de Chile on a National Science Foundation International Research Fellowship (NSF-IRFP) and three years at the Carnegie Institution for Science on a NASA Hubble Fellowship.  She is now a permanent scientific staff member jointly in the department of Astrophysics and the department of Education at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH).  Dr. Faherty co-runs a dynamic research group at AMNH entitled Brown Dwarfs in New York City (BDNYC).  Her team has won multiple grants from NASA, NSF, and the Heising Simons foundation to support projects focused on characterizing planet-like objects.  She has also co-founded the popular citizen science project entitled Backyard Worlds: Planet 9 which invites the general public to help scan the solar neighborhood for previously missed cold worlds. Faherty has over 100 peer reviewed articles in Astrophysical journals, has been an invited speaker at universities and conferences across the globe and is a major advocate for utilizing visualization tools for both science and education advancements.  Aside from a love of scientific research, Dr. Faherty is a passionate educator and can often be found giving public lectures in the Hayden Planetarium. She holds a unique position at the American Museum of Natural History that allows her to pursue scientific research at the forefront of exoplanet characterization studies while mentoring and advising education programs for students and general public alike.  

There are several scientific endeavors based at AMNH led by Dr. Faherty and comprise of members of her team:

  1. The Brewster Retrievals group that utilizes Ben Burningham’s spectral inversion code to parametrize clouds on extrasolar worlds, as well as determine fundamental parameters and chemical compositions.
  2. The TESS Squad that examines light curves for young stars near the Sun to determine gyrochronology relationships for moving groups, young associations, and star forming regions.
  3. The Backyard Worlds: Planet 9 Citizen Science Project that works with the general public to scan the sky in mid-infrared wavelengths, searching for previously undetected cold compact worlds.
  4. The Cosmic View of Life on Earth group that works with visualizers in Sweden and biologists in Switzerland to take DNA barcoding data and turn it into an immersive 3D Tree of Life.

Research Interests

  • Brown Dwarfs
  • Astrometry
  • Variability Studies
  • The Young Stellar Neighborhood
  • Directly Imaged Exoplanets
  • Low Mass Stars
  • Formation and Evolution of Stars and Planets