Matthew Standing

Research Fellow


Main Research Fields

I'm an astronomer searching for exoplanets in harsh and unique environments. My research focuses on circumbinary planets, and aims to increase the number of these interesting planets that have been discovered. Circumbinary planets, planets which orbit around both stars of a central binary star system, were once confined to science fiction (e.g. Tatooine from Star Wars), and to date only 15 have been discovered orbiting main sequence binary stars. Circumbinary planets have a unique formation environment that can help us understand some of the mechanisms at play in planet formation around single stars, and, in-turn, how our own Solar system formed.

My work involves gathering radial-velocity observations from instruments such as ESPRESSO, HARPS, SOPHIE, and CARMENES from telescopes located worldwide. I then analyse the data using cutting edge bayesian statistical methods to search for any exoplanet signals present. I am also expanding this search to include transit photometry. The Kepler space telescope discovered 12 out of the 15 known circumbinary planets and therefore we expect PLATO to discover many more of these objects. Unfortunately, circumbinary planet orbits are complex and automated detection of their transit signals will prove difficult without a dedicated pipeline. I plan to develop such a pipeline to detect circumbinary planet signals, like needles, in the proverbial haystacks of data that PLATO will produce.


- Exoplanet discovery

- Circumbinary planets

- Radial velocity

- Transit photometry

- Stellar activity

- Bayesian statistics

- Data analysis


Ongoing collaborations

Binaries Escorted By Orbiting Planets (BEBOP)

Amaury Triaud - University of Birmingham, UK

Lalitha Sairam - Cambridge University, UK

David Martin - Tufts University, US


Dispersed Matter Planet Project (DMPP)

Carole Haswell - The Open University, UK

John Barnes - The Open University, UK


Johannes Sahlmann - ESAC, Spain



ADS publication list

OrcID: 0000-0002-7608-8905


Project/mission at ESA