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Joe Zalesky

I am currently an astrophysics PhD student within the School of Earth and Space Exploration (SESE) at ASU and an Future Investigator under NASA's FINESST award (previously known as NASA's NESSF). I am working under the advisement of Professors Mike Line and Jenny Patience.

I was born in Pittsburgh but grew up in small town/rural Ohio. I attended UC Berkeley for my undergraduate education, before beginning my PhD work at ASU. Details on past/current projects I've worked on are provided in my CV link below.

In my free time I love riding motorycyles that I can afford, looking at motorcycles that I can't afford, coding, climbing, hiking, running, and many other things.

If you'd like to contact me, my information is provided below.


Last Updated: October 2021



My main scientific interests lie in understanding and characterizing atmospheric dynamics and composition with a focus on applications to brown dwarfs and exoplanet observations. Other astronomical interests include planet formation and dynamics, along with protoplanetary disk evolution.


Atmospheric Characterization of T/L Dwarfs: The presence of various condensate species in the atmospheres of both brown dwarfs and exoplanets has presented a challenging theoretical modeling task when attempting to match observational spectra. While we are able to constrain the atmospheric abundances of cloud-free, late-T and early-Y brown dwarfs (Zalesky et al. 2019, Line et al. 2015/2017), modeling atmospheres strongly impacted by these cloud species still remains a challenge. My current work focuses on applying the CHIMERA radiative transfer code combined with several cloud prescriptions available in the literature to fit T/L dwarf ground-based spectra. This work is the subject of my FINESST award.

High Resolution Cross Correlation Spectroscopy (HRCCS): HRCCS has emerged as a way to robustly detect molecular signatures using high-resolution (R~10^4/5) ground based observations. This technique has been vetted to work for almost a decade (e.g. Snellen et al. 2010). However it wasn't until recently that such a technique could be used to constrain abundances of individual molecules in a robust statistical framework (e.g. Brogi & Line 2019). My current work focuses on using this novel statistical framework to jointly fit multiple high and low-resolution observations of two benchmark planets, HD209458b and HD189733b.


SESE Open House

Currently I am part of the SESE Open House Committee which opens the doors of SESE to the public several times a semester in order to show the public the current research that is happening within the department and why this impacts their lives through hands-on activites.

IDL Decal

While at UC Berkeley I led and developed most of the current course content for the IDL Decal. This course taught new astrophysics majors the basic, practical programming skills they would need in order to begin conducting research with faculty and also prepare them for future observationally-based upper division courses. I and my co-facilitarors wrote a 100-page textbook that has since been used to teach others within and outside the US the basics of progamming.


Email: jazalesk (at) asu.edu
GitLab: astrophd
ASU School of Earth and Space Exploration
PO Box 871404
Tempe, AZ 85287