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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.



Faculty Position in Astronomy & Astrophysics – Northwestern

Deadline: 11:59pm, February 15, 2021

ASSISTANT PROFESSOR IN ASTRONOMY/ ASTROPHYSICS The Department of Physics and Astronomy at Northwestern University invites applications for a new full time faculty position in astronomy and astrophysics, as part of a major expansion in this area over the coming years.  We seek outstanding individuals in observation/instrumentation or computation/theory who will complement and expand the current

Computational Specialist

Deadline: 11:59pm, February 17, 2021

The Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics (CIERA, at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois is looking for a motivated Computational Specialist who will actively engage in and support the computational research activities carried out in the center. The position will be at the level of a junior staff scientist; the appointment will initially be for 2

2021 Research Experiences in Astronomy at CIERA for High School Students

Deadline: 11:59pm, March 15, 2021

REACH (Research Experiences in Astronomy at CIERA for High School Students) is a highly interactive, 3-week program (with an optional 3-week extension) that provides high school students experience with astronomy research in an atmosphere of team-style learning, hands-on training, and mentorship from professional scientists. Students enrolled in the program engage in astronomy research projects with CIERA astronomers.



Core Astronomy Faculty



Graduate Students