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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.



Postdoctoral Associate Positions in Observational Astronomy & Astrophysics

Deadline: 11:59pm, December 1, 2019

Image Credit: Ethan Tweedie Photography/W. M. Keck Observatory (from Northwestern University expects to offer postdoctoral associate positions in observational and instrumental astronomy and astrophysics starting in fall 2020. Of particular interest this year are: candidates who will work with Prof. Ulmer on the application of magnetic thin films to control deformable or deployable normal



Core Astronomy Faculty


Graduate Students