Research

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Exoplanet Observations

The exoplanet research group at DTU Space focuses on understanding and characterizing exoplanets with emphasis on terrestrial planets, super-Earths, and sub-Neptunes through two key areas of research: 1) discovery, validation, and precise mass measurements of transiting and non-transiting planets to understand their composition and structure and 2) observation, characterization and modelling of exoplanetary atmospheres. The overall aim of our research is to advance our insight into the diversity and composition of the abundant small planets and to pave the way for biosignature observations.​

Planetary Modelling

We are developing state-of-the-art numerical tools from ground-up to interpret observational data and characterise the atmosphere of exoplanets. Our tools are being used to infer the planet atmospheric conditions from star-planet spectra and variations of the observed signals.

OASIS is a 3D virtual-lab that will be able to explore a large diversity of planetary environments and test climate/circulation theories. The code has been written from scratch and couples self-consistently seven modules that represent the main physical and chemical processes that shape planetary climates and their evolution. A prototype of OASIS has already been successfully benchmarked on Solar System planets (Mendonca & Buchhave submitted to MNRAS).

Figure: OASIS couples different physical representations: radiation, chemistry (includes biology and lightning), convection, clouds, dynamics, surface and interior (include volcanism and weathering processes). For more details see: http://www.software-oasis.com/oasis

 

 

 

 

 

 

OASIS will constrain the mass and composition of the recently discovered exoplanet atmospheres and will find the key physics behind the diversity of planetary environments.  We also want to study the effects of biological activity in different planetary environments and their likelihood of harbouring life and develop observational techniques to search for habitable planets and detectable signs of biological activity (biosignatures).

Figure: Venus simulation using the OASIS platform. The colours represent the temperature (K) at 70 km altitude.