People » Joseph Harrington

Dr. Harrington began observing and modeling giant planets as an undergraduate at MIT. His pre-impact model of the collision of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 with Jupiter in 1994, part of his MIT PhD thesis in planetary sciences, was published on the cover of Nature and sparked the worldwide media spree surrounding that event. Dr. Harrington then held a National Research Council Fellowship at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, during which he modeled the aftermath of the Shoemaker-Levy 9 impact and also identified the majority of planetary waves known on planets other than Earth. From 1997 – 2006, he worked as a staff scientist at Cornell University, where his interests shifted to observing extrasolar planets. He was part of the team that first measured light from an extrasolar planet, a result published in Nature in April 2005.  He continues this work at UCF, leading the Spitzer Exoplanet Target of Opportunity Program, which measured eclipses and transits of new exoplanets with the Spitzer Space Telescope.  He won the 2011 College of Sciences Excellence in Research Award for this work.  A co-founder of the Planetary Sciences Track in the UCF Physics PhD program, he teaches AST 5165 Planetary Atmospheres and AST 5765/4762 (Advanced) Astronomical Data Analysis.

Planetary and exoplanetary atmospheres.
Astronomical data analysis methodology.
Infrared observing techniques.


Professor Harrington’s Research Web Site is here



Oversees the following Graduate Students

COS Faculty Join Elite Society

Eight University of Central Florida College of Sciences faculty were inducted into the Scroll and Quill Society on April 13, 2017. The society honors faculty members who have brought positive national and/or in... Read more

Physics Professor Sheds Light on New Planet

The discovery of the new exoplanet Proxima Centauri b seems like a story out of a science fiction novel – maybe because it actually is. The plot of science fiction author Stephen Baxter’s 2015 book Proxima ... Read more

COS Faculty Receive Incentive Awards

The College of Sciences is proud to announce the 2015-2016 winners for the Teaching Incentive Program and Research Incentive Award. Each year, UCF’s Academic Affairs’ Office of Faculty Excellence gives inc... Read more

Click here to read additional news stories