2. Atmospheric modeling of exoplanet phase-curves.


ESA supervisor: Quentin Changeat
Collaborator(s): Theresa Lueftinger


Spectroscopic phase-curves allow to map the atmospheric properties of exoplanets by observing their emission as a function of wavelength for an entire orbit.  With the recently launched JWST telescope, however, the current interpretation strategies are often not sufficient due to the much higher information that can be extracted from the data.
This internship will aim at extending an existing radiative transfer scheme (Changeat & Al-Refaie 2020) to permit more complex modeling of exoplanet phase-curves. A broad plan for this internship could be:

  1. Mathematical development of the radiative integration scheme (extension of the existing formula, and/or search of new integration methods).
  2. Implementation of the new method in an existing python framework (TauREx3).
  3. Applications to real data (WASP-43 b HST and JWST data) using the existing or newly developed methods.
  4. Interpretation of the physico-chemical results.

The proposed internship will be for 6 months, so the candidates will not be expected to complete all four steps.  A focus on point 1) and point 2) would be preferred, but the project can be adapted to the candidates needs and preferences. 

- Changeat & Al-Refaie (2020): TauREx3 PhaseCurve: A 1.5D model for phase curve description, ApJ 898 155, https://arxiv.org/abs/2006.14237.
- Changeat (2022): On spectroscopic phase-curve retrievals: H2 dissociation and thermal inversion in the atmosphere of the ultra-hot Jupiter WASP-103 b, AJ 163 106, https://arxiv.org/abs/2112.09973

Project duration: 6 months.

Desirable expertise or programming language:


Desirable competence:

  • Background in Mathematics, Physics (inc. Astro.) or Software Engineering.
  • Some knowledge of numerical integration methods (Gaussian quadrature, finite difference) or general mathematics skills would be a plus.
  • Basic knowledge of radiative transfer would be a plus.

To apply for this project please fill in an online application form through the following link.