Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy

Photographer: Dirk Gillissen

dr. J.M.L.B. (Jean-Michel) Desert

  • Faculty of Science
    Anton Pannekoek Institute of Astronomy
  • Visiting address
    Science Park A
    Science Park 904  Room number: C4.119
  • Postal address:
    Postbus  94249
    1090 GE  Amsterdam
    T: 0205257466
    T: 0205257491


Jean-Michel Désert is an Assistant Professor at the University of Amsterdam.  After completing his PhD in Exoplanet atmospheres at the Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris (France) in 2009, he held a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard College Observatory (USA) to work on NASA’s Kepler mission, and became a Carl Sagan fellow at Caltech (USA). In 2013, he went on an Assistant Professor position at the University of Colorado Boulder (USA) before joining the Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy in 2015. He is a NWO-TOPII and ERC Starting Grant Laureate.

Research and teaching

Jean-Michel works on detecting and characterizing the atmospheres of planets orbiting nearby stars, and teaches Planetary Sciences to bachelor students. The main goal of his research is to answer key questions about the formation and evolution of exoplanets, and to explain the origin and characteristics of our Solar System and the Earth. The most important component of his work focuses on studying exoplanet’s atmospheres to learn about their composition and overall physical properties. He conducts comparative exoplanetology observational programs (e.g., HST, Spitzer, Kepler, VLT). Ultimately, his work provides pioneering techniques that will be used to characterize potentially habitable exoplanets with future capabilities such as JWST and Extremely Large Telescopes (ELTs).


Exoplanets, Exoplanet atmospheres, Planetary sciences, Star and planet formation.


  • Huitson, C. M., Désert, J-M., Bean, J. L., Fortney, J. J., Stevenson, K. B., & Bergmann, M. (2017). Gemini/GMOS Transmission Spectral Survey: Complete Optical Transmission Spectrum of the Hot Jupiter WASP-4b. Astronomical Journal, 154(3), 95. DOI: 10.3847/1538-3881/aa7f72 
  • Snellen, I. A. G., Désert, J-M., Waters, L. B. F. M., Robinson, T., Meadows, V., van Dishoeck, E. F., ... Brogi, M. (2017). Detecting Proxima b’s Atmosphere with JWST Targeting CO2 at 15 μm Using a High-pass Spectral Filtering Technique. Astronomical Journal, 154(2), 77. DOI: 10.3847/1538-3881/aa7fbc 
  • Lecavelier des Etangs, A., Hébrard, G., Blandin, S., Cassier, J., Deeg, H. J., Bonomo, A. S., ... Vidal-Madjar, A. (2017). Search for rings and satellites around the exoplanet CoRoT-9b using Spitzer photometry. Astronomy & Astrophysics, 603. DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/201730554 
  • Brogi, M., Line, M., Bean, J., Désert, J-M., & Schwarz, H. (2017). A Framework to Combine Low- and High-resolution Spectroscopy for the Atmospheres of Transiting Exoplanets. Astrophysical Journal Letters, 839(1), [L2]. DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/aa6933  [details] 
  • Stevenson, K. B., Line, M. R., Bean, J. L., Désert, J-M., Fortney, J. J., Showman, A. P., ... Feng, Y. K. (2017). Spitzer Phase Curve Constraints for WASP-43b at 3.6 and 4.5 μm. Astronomical Journal, 153(2), 68. DOI: 10.3847/1538-3881/153/2/68 


  • Stevenson, K. B., Lewis, N. K., Bean, J. L., Beichman, C., Fraine, J., Kilpatrick, B. M., ... Wakeford, H. R. (2016). Transiting Exoplanet Studies and Community Targets for JWST's Early Release Science Program. Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 128(967), 94401. DOI: 10.1088/1538-3873/128/967/094401 
  • Montet, B. T., Johnson, J. A., Fortney, J. J., & Desert, J-M. (2016). Benchmark Transiting Brown Dwarf LHS 6343 C: Spitzer Secondary Eclipse Observations Yield Brightness Temperature and Mid-T Spectral Class. Astrophysical Journal Letters, 822(1), [L6]. DOI: 10.3847/2041-8205/822/1/L6  [details] 
  • Stevenson, K. B., Bean, J. L., Seifahrt, A., Gilbert, G. J., Line, M. R., Désert, J-M., & Fortney, J. J. (2016). A Search for Water in the Atmosphere of HAT-P-26b Using LDSS-3C. Astrophysical Journal, 817(2), 141. DOI: 10.3847/0004-637X/817/2/141 


  • Batalha, N. M., Bean, J., Stevenson, K., Sing, D., Crossfield, I., Knutson, H., ... Lopez-Morales, M. (2017). The Transiting Exoplanet Community Early Release Science Program for JWST. 4151. Abstract from Habitable Worlds 2017 , Laramie, United States.


  • Desert, J.M.L.B. (2016): NWO TOP II.
  • Desert, J.M.L.B. (2015): ERC Starting Grant.

Media appearance

  • Desert, Jean-Michel (29-05-2016): Nasa cherche planète habitable (NASA search habitable planets) [Print] Le Journal Du Dimanche. Nasa cherche planète habitable (NASA search habitable planets).

Talk / presentation

  • Desert, J.M.L.B. (invited speaker) (11-2016): Colloquium: Transiting exoplanet atmospheres, University of Edinburgh.
  • Desert, J.M.L.B. (invited speaker) (10-2016): Colloquium: Transiting exoplanet atmospheres, Oxford University.
  • Desert, J.M.L.B. (invited speaker) (9-2016): Review on exoplanet atmospheres, Annual Conference of the German Astronomical Society, Bochum, Germany.
  • Desert, J.M.L.B. (invited speaker) (9-2016): Transiting exoplanet atmospheres, Annual Conference of the German Astronomical Society, Bochum, Germany.
  • Desert, J.M.L.B. (speaker) (7-2016): Results from the first ground based survey f exoplanet atmospheres, Exoplanets-I, Davos, Switzerland.
  • Desert, J.M.L.B. (invited speaker) (3-2016): Colloquium: Transiting exoplanet atmospheres, University of Zurich.
  • Desert, J.M.L.B. (invited speaker) (3-2016): Colloquium: Transiting exoplanet atmospheres, Radboud Universiteit.
  • Desert, J.M.L.B. (invited speaker) (15-1-2016): Transiting exoplanet atmospheres, NAC jaarvergadering, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
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