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Exoplanets & The Solar System

Planet Formation, Planet Dynamics, Protoplanetary Disks

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle (SSC)

Since the discovery of the first exoplanet just over twenty years ago, the study of exoplanets has grown explosively. By now, astronomers have discovered thousands of exoplanets, with an incredibly diverse array of properties. This growth will undoubtedly continue into the future, as new kinds of planets are being observed with increasingly advanced telescopes. Faculty in CIERA study exoplanets theoretically and build instruments to directly image them.

Research at CIERA

The groups of Professors Rasio and Lithwick carry out theoretical work and simulations to study the long-term dynamics of planetary systems. Both groups study the chaotic dynamics of multi-planet systems as they evolve. Professor Rasio’s group also studies planet-planet interactions, star-planet interactions and tidal disruptions, and planets in binary star systems.

Professor Ulmer’s group is developing new infrared camera technology to advance our understanding of planetary systems by directly imaging planets around other stars.




DSFP Postdoctoral Fellow

Deadline: 11:59pm, December 16, 2021

We invite applications for a postdoctoral scholar to join Northwestern’s Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics (CIERA) and the leadership of the LSSTC Data Science Fellowship Program (DSFP). The DSFP Postdoctoral Fellow will divide their time equally between conducting an independent research program in data science in astronomy/astrophysics, while continuing the development and growth of the DSFP.

Joint Postdoctoral Researcher at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and CIERA (Extragalactic Science with TESS)

Deadline: 11:59pm, December 31, 2021

The appointment will start in Fall 2022 (exact starting date negotiable). The first two years will be at the Department of Astronomy at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (with Prof. Yue Shen), with the third year at the CIERA at Northwestern University (with Prof. Claude-Andre Faucher-Giguere). Please see for more information. The postdoctoral

Astronomy PhD Program

Deadline: 11:59pm, December 31, 2021

The Northwestern Astronomy PhD is designed to provide students with a broad training in astronomy while enabling them to get started quickly with their graduate research. The Astronomy PhD is a flexible program that allows students to complement their astronomy training with a selection of physics courses or courses from other quantitative disciplines such as

Physics PhD Program

Deadline: 11:59pm, December 31, 2021

The Department of Physics and Astronomy offers two different PhD degrees designed to best train students in their chosen discipline. For most branches of physics, students should enroll in the Physics PhD. Students interested in astronomy or astrophysics may apply for the Astronomy PhD. GREs (general and physics) are not accepted. Visit the Physics and Astronomy Department website for

Faculty Position in Astrophysics – Northwestern

Deadline: 11:59pm, January 15, 2022

The Department of Physics and Astronomy at Northwestern University invites applications for a new full time faculty position in astrophysics, as part of an ongoing expansion in this area.  We seek outstanding individuals in any area of astrophysics, including theory and computation, observational astronomy, and instrumentation. We are especially seeking researchers who will complement and expand



Core Astronomy Faculty



Graduate Students