There are more than 4,000 exoplanets currently known, and thousands of candidates awaiting confirmation. Exoplanets are planets that orbit around other stars. But they are very hard to see directly with telescopes, as they are hidden by the glare of the stars they orbit. Dr. Nicolas Cowan, Canada Research Chair in Planetary Climate, is using cutting-edge telescopes to observe these diverse planets.
Cowan studies planetary climate, among the most complex physical systems in the Universe. His investigations of exoplanet climate often draw on knowledge of Earth and our own solar system. He and his research team are using the James Webb space telescope (the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope) to study smaller and cooler planets, including potentially habitable temperate terrestrial planets orbiting nearby red dwarf stars.