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, first leading the Spitzer Exoplanet Target of Opportunity Program, which measured exoplanet eclipses and transits with the Spitzer Space Telescope, and now developing Bayesian Atmospheric Radiative Transfer (BART), an open-source, reproducible-research code for inferring (“retrieving”) the properties of exoplanet atmospheres from observations. 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 developed and taught AST 6165 Planetary Atmospheres, AST 5765/4762 (Advanced) Astronomical Data Analysis, PHZ 3150 Introduction to Numerical Computing, and the gamified version of AST 2002 Astronomy. In 2020, he was named a UCF Pegasus Professor. He served as Chair of the UCF Faculty Senate and member of the UCF Board of Trustees from 2020-2022. He currently serves as the Associate Vice President for Research and Scholarship.
Professor Harrington’s Research Web Site is here
Planetary and exoplanetary atmospheres.
Astronomical data analysis methodology.
Infrared observing techniques.
Oversees the following graduate students:
In the News
UCF Names Joseph Harrington as Interim Associate Vice President for Research and Scholarship
The University of Central Florida Office of Research has announced the appointment of Joseph Harrington, a Pegasus Professor in the Department of Physics and UCF’s…
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