4. Hunting for exoplanets: providing ground-based support for ESA's space fleet.


ESA supervisor: Maximilian Günther
Collaborator(s): TBD


The new era of high-precision all-sky photometric surveys has opened many doors to understand our own Earth's place in the universe. We can now readily detect and characterise exoplanets using techniques such as transits, occultations, and phase curves, and deduct how our Solar System might have once looked like - or why it looks so different today.
ESA’s current and upcoming space fleet is on the forefront of this, featuring HST, Gaia, JWST, CHEOPS, and soon PLATO and Ariel. To this end, support from a collaborative, international network of ground-based facilities is crucial, aiding the target selection and follow-up of new signals.
As an intern, you will play a key role in this synergy. You will work with the CHEOPS Project Scientist and collaborating teams to exploit the scientific data of the ground-based missions ASTEP (Antarctica), NGTS (Chile), and/or SPECULOOS (Chile) in support of the goals of ESA’s space fleet. For this, you will employ state-of-the-art data analysis techniques (time series analyses, MCMC, Nested Sampling, etc.). The project is foreseen to lead to a delivery, such as a publication (as lead- or co-author), research note, or conference presentation, and will also feature a series of professional development workshops and opportunities.

Project duration: 3-6 months.

Desirable expertise or programming language:

Professional skills such as open communication, team-based thinking, and solution-oriented approaches are pivotal for this role. Foundational knowledge of Python programming, data analysis basics (e.g., arrays, time series, signal detection, …), and/or astronomy basics will form a solid basis for a successful project. Hands-on experience with research on exoplanets, stellar activity, and/or photometry can be a plus.


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