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Characterising exoplanet atmospheres at high spectral resolution

Astronomers are always looking for novel techinques capable of pushing forward the limits of what is observable. Recent years have seen the first application of high-resolution infrared spectroscopy (R > 50,000) to investigate the properties of exoplanet atmospheres.

The method has allowed us to study the atmospheres of non-transiting planets for the first time, and solve for their masses and orbital inclinations. It has also produced the first direct measurements of exoplanet rotation. When combined with direct imaging at the Extremely Large Telescope, this technique promises to detect biomarkers in the atmospheres of temperate exoplanets orbiting M-dwarfs.

Dr. Matteo Brogi is looking for a motivated PhD student to start in Fall 2018 on observations of exoplanet atmospheres at high spectral resolution. The project will rely on both archival spectra, and new datasets taken at major ground-based telescope facilities (VLT, TNG). The project will focus on the following science goals:

  • Measuring molecular species and their relative abundances
  • Determining the global thermal structure of exoplanet atmospheres
  • Measuring planet rotation and winds from the shift/broadening of absorption lines
  • Working on the combination of high-resolution and low-resolution spectroscopy to improve measurements of atmospheric parameters (temperature, metallicity, etc.)
  • Simulating future observations of potentially-habitable planets with the Extremely Large Telescope

If you are interested, please contact me at m.brogi [at] warwick.ac.uk.

Applications are registered through the University of Warwick online portal. Please refer to the Postgraduate Admission page for further details on the submission process. Applications sent before 31 January, 2018, will receive full consideration.