The field of exoplanetary science is rapidly growing, with hundreds of new exoplanets detected every year. My research focuses on utilising a wide range of observations of exoplanetary systems to form as complete a picture as possible of how these planetary systems form and evolve. Is our Solar System unique, or typical of all planetary systems?
The faint stellar remnants left at the end of the lifetime of a star like our Sun, known as White Dwarfs, have the unique property of a thin atmosphere containing pure hydrogen or helium. An asteroid or comet added to the atmosphere of a white dwarf is detectable in the spectra. My work focuses on utilising these unique observations to inform our understanding of composition and geology in exoplanetary bodies.
Almost all planet host stars will one day evolve to become white dwarfs. How does this stellar evolution impact the planetary system? Can we find observational evidence for planetary systems around evolved stars? How does planetary material end up in the atmospheres of white dwarfs?
High levels of dust are observed in the inner regions of many planetary systems. How did this dust get there, and is it related to the outer planetary system?
Herschel PACS 100um resolved imaging of the debris disc orbiting the subgiant Kappa Cr B