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Eric Jensen

Professor of Astronomy

Eric Jensen

Professor Jensen's area of specialization is planet formation and, more broadly, astrobiology or the study of the origin and distribution of life in the cosmos. His current research focuses the observations of young stars whose ages (1-100 million years) suggest that they may be in the process of forming planets. He also studies protoplanetary disks around young single and binary stars and is interested in planet formation and whether such planets would be habitable.

Professor Jensen has published numerous articles in scholarly journals including the Astronomical Journal and the Astrophysical Journal.

In 2012, Cohen and Jensen and Associate Professor of Astronomy David Cohen contributed to the discovery two planets dubbed KELT-1b and KELT-2Ab using the campus’ observatory.

In 2014, Jensen discovered planet-forming disks of gas around the two young stars of the binary system HK Tauri, helping to shed light on the phenomena of misaligned orbits. His findings were featured in National Geographic, Discovery Channel, Yahoo!, Astronomy Magazine, and io9.

In 2016, Jensen was part of a worldwide network of astronomers who confirmed the existence of Kepler-1647b, the largest circumbinary planet ever found.

He received his B.A. from Carleton College and his M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin.


Listen to Eric Jensen's lecture, "How Quickly Do Planets Form? Is Our Solar System Unique or Normal?" He discusses what we have learned so far from our study of extrasolar planets, and the prospects for detecting Earth-like planets in the near future.

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