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Ishan Mishra

Astronomy & Space Sciences


Hello! I am a fourth-year graduate student working with Prof. Nikole Lewis and Prof. Jonathan Lunine on planetary spectroscopic retrievals. Briefly, this involves analyzing spectroscopic data from solar system bodies and exoplanets using appropriate physical models and statistical tools. The goal is to infer properties like composition, temperature, etc. of the atmosphere or surface of the body being observed. I am also interested in the application of data science methods like machine learning to this problem, which are rapidly gaining popularity in a variety of scientific fields.  In the future, I would like to explore how these retrieval frameworks can aid the astrobiological exploration of potentially habitable exoplanets and icy moons in the outer solar system.


  • Astronomy
  • Carl Sagan Institute

Graduate Fields

  • Astronomy and Space Sciences


Advisor: Professor Nikole Lewis

I am currently working on two projects:

1. HAT-P-41b is a hot jupiter which was recently observed for the first time in the NUV regime using the Hubble Space Telescope, extending the range of its transmission spectrum to shorter wavelengths and opening a new window to understand its atmospheric properties. Using atmospheric transmission spectra models in a Bayesian inference framework, I am trying to constrain properties like atmospheric metallicity, the carbon to oxygen ratio, clouds and haze parameters and abundances of major molecules like water, carbon dioxide and methane. The project team is also interested in exploring non-equilibrium chemistry processes that might be affecting the observed spectrum.

2. Juno, the mission currently studying Jupiter, made serendipitous observations of the icy moon Europa using its IR spectrometer. The data extends to 5 microns, a region spectroscopically rich in non-water-ice components, and is of much higher quality than the spectroscopic observations of Europa made by Galileo, the predecessor mission to the Jupiter system. Again, using a model that simulates reflectance spectra of planetary regolith in a Bayesian inference framework, I am trying to constrain the abundances and grain sizes of likely surface components that include crystalline and amorphous water ice, sulfates, chlorinates and organics that have been detected on the other icy Galilean moons Ganymede and Callisto.


'Disintegration of the Aged Open Cluster Berkeley-17', Bhattacharya, S., Mishra, I., Vaidya, K., & Chen, W.-P. 2017, ApJ, 847, 138


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