Carlsberg grant to Mia Sloth Lundkvist

Congratulations to postdoc Mia Sloth Lundkvist on a postdoc stipend of Dkr 1 149 000 from the Carlsberg Foundation to pursue her project on "Pulsating exoplanet hosts in the TESS era".   Mia is presently based in Heidelberg and is planning to return to Aarhus at the end of 2018.

2017.12.21 | Ole J. Knudsen

Mia Sloth Lundkvist. Photo: Landessternwarte Heidelberg

Mia's project is about extrasolar planets (exoplanets) and the stars that they orbit with a special focus on host stars showing "star quakes". The primary planets studied will be the exoplanet population that will be uncovered by the NASA TESS mission, which will be launched early next year.

Specifically, the interest is on exoplanets about 2-4 times the size of Earth that orbit close to their host stars, since these exoplanets seem to be extremely rare. This is thought to be due to their proximity to the star; they orbit so close-in that they have lost their atmospheres due to the intense star light "boiling" the atmospheres off.

Furthermore, the host stars themselves will be investigated using both information from star quakes and the signature of near-surface convection.

By studying exoplanets which could have lost their atmospheres due to evaporation, we can gain valuable insights into a process that impacts the formation and evolution of planetary systems. In turn, understanding how planetary systems are created and evolve over time is important, for instance, for establishing how common rocky planets like Earth are in the Universe.

Understanding the host stars is important too as they play a major role for the planets around them. Not only can they be responsible for the stripping of planetary atmospheres, they also largely determine the temperature of the planets impacting the habitability, and they can even engulf their planets as they evolve. Thus, for example knowing how our Sun will evolve can teach us about the future of our solar system.

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