In my research, I try to find out what exoplanets are made of. How different are these distant worlds from our Earth and the other planets in the Solar System? Could there be a second Earth-planet in our stellar neighbourhood? What can we learn from the diversity of planets about their formation history?
What are exoplanets?
Exoplanets are planets outside the Solar System that orbit other stars. The star of our system is the Sun.
The majority of detected exoplanets cannot be seen directly. However, these planets influence the light from their host stars which reaches us on Earth. The alterations of stellar light can thus tell us about their hosted exoplanets.
Which data carries information?
We often use mass and size of a planet and physical models to tell whether their interiors are dominated by rock or gas etc. In my work, I investigate a series of other possible constraints: stellar composition, evolutionary considerations, system architecture, age, etc.
Will we ever reach out to other worlds?
No. We belong to Earth. Enjoy this place!