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Maria Mercedes Lopez-Morales

Center for Astrophysics
Astrophysicist

About

I am an astrophysicist working at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in the Solar, Stellar, and Planetary Science Departement. My work includes the search and characterization of exoplanets using telescopes on the ground and in space. I am the Co-PI of the Panchromatic Comparative Exoplanetary Treasury (PanCET) Program on the Hubble Space telescope (), aimed at characterizing the atmospheric properties of gas giant exoplanets from the ultraviolet to the infrared. I am also Co-I and Chair of the High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher for the Northern hemisphere (HARPS-N) Science Team, dedicated to measure precise masses of exoplanets. In addition, I work on developing new techniques and instrumentation to detect biosignatures in earth-like exoplanets. Getting to the point where we can detect biosignatures with the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) in the next few years is what drives my work every day.