Institute of Astronomy

Mr Tim Pearce


Office: Hoyle H29
Office Tel: (01223) 766645
More Info (Internal)



I am a third year PhD student, working with Mark Wyatt and Grant Kennedy. My research focuses on the orbits of extrasolar planets and the dynamics of planetary systems.

One aspect of my work is modelling interactions between planets and debris discs (the latter describing regions of sub-planet sized material orbiting a star, akin to the Asteroid and Kuiper belts in our Solar System). Features have been observed in some extrasolar debris discs which hint at the presence of unseen planets; I research the general imprints of perturbing planets on such discs and, in some cases, infer the orbits of unseen planets from specific disc observations. I particularly focus on highly eccentric and/or inclined planets, regimes which were previously under-studied in the literature.

I also investigate the orbits of planetary and stellar companions imaged around other stars. These orbits cannot be solved uniquely, because the companions are only observed for fractions of their long orbital periods. I work on methods to constrain such orbits in bias-free ways; I am particularly interested in analytic techniques, which compliment the more utilised numerical methods and can give greater insights than the latter into the allowed regions of orbital parameter space.


Selected papers


2012-present: PhD student, Cambridge
Summer 2011: Visiting student, Cambridge
Summer 2009: Technical researcher, E.ON engineering
2008-2012: MPhys, Durham (1st, Hons)


  • I run the example classes for the 4th year undergraduate Planetary System Dynamics course
  • Previously supervised 3rd year undergraduate students taking the Topics in Astrophysics course
Page last updated: 7 August 2015 at 16:12