Research

I study transiting M dwarf exoplanets as a member of Zach Berta-Thompson's CU Boulder Exoplaneteers (CUBE) research group.

The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) is surveying the 200,000 brightest and nearest stars in our galaxy, and I run a ground-based observing campaign to validate and characterize as many M dwarf exoplanets as I can, focusing on small planets at long periods. So far, I have contributed to the validation and characterization of LHS 3844b (Vanderspek+ 2019, the first M dwarf planet found by TESS), the LP 791-18 system (Crossfield+ 2019), and TOIs 122b and 237b (Waalkes+ 2021).

Selected Publications:

TOI 122b and TOI 237b, Two Small Warm Exoplanets Orbiting Inactive M Dwarfs Found by TESS

A Super-Earth and Sub-Neptune Transiting the Late-type M Dwarf LP 791-18

Ly╬▒ in the GJ 1132 System: Stellar Emission and Planetary Atmospheric Evolution

TESS Discovery of an Ultra-short-period Planet around the Nearby M Dwarf LHS 3844

The Transiting Exoplanet Community Early Release Science Program for JWST

Examining the exobase approximation: DSMC models of Titan's upper atmosphere

For a complete list of publications, go here

Courses:
ASTR 3400: Astronomy Research Methods, Fall 2018
Instructor: Dr. Zachory Berta-Thompson

ASTR 3510: Observation & Instrumentation, Fall 2020
Instructor: Dr. John Bally

ASTR 1040: Accelerated Intro Astronomy II, Spring 2021
Instructor: Dr. Erica Nelson

ASTR 3710: Solary System Formation & Evolution, Fall 2021
Instructor: Dr. Meredith MacGregor

Outreach:
The Sommers-Bausch Observatory at CU Boulder regularly has public observing nights which I, along with other members of my department, facilitate. My research advisor and I also use the SBO telescopes for exoplanet science and to provide a research experience to undergraduate students interested in exoplanets. As this program gains traction, our undergraduate researchers will soon be contributing meaningful results to the TESS followup effort.

Contact

Email: william.waalkes@colorado.edu

Office: Duane D241