Institute of Astronomy

Dr Jessica Rigley


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Office: Hoyle H32
Office Tel: (01223) 766691
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Research Themes: Star Formation and Exoplanets

Research Keywords: Dynamics, Planets, Theory


I am a postdoctoral reasearch working on debris discs with Mark Wyatt. 

Specifically, I study exozodiacal clouds - dust in exoplanetary systems which orbits very close to the star, analogous to the zodiacal cloud of the solar system. Warm exozodiacal dust is typically in the habitable zone, and could impact future attempts at directly imaging exo-Earths. Generally this dust is too close to the star for an in situ asteroid belt to be in steady state, so must have another origin. I use numerical and analytical modelling to try and understand the origin of warm exozodis. My focus is on two potential origins of exozodis - inward migration of dust from an outer planetesimal belt due to Poynting-Robertson drag, and inward scattering of exocomets.  


Selected papers

Comet fragmentation as a source of the zodiacal cloud, Rigley, J., Wyatt, M. (2022), MNRAS, 510, 834

Dust size and spatial distributions in debris discs: predictions for exozodiacal dust dragged in from an exo-Kuiper belt, Rigley, J., Wyatt, M. (2020), MNRAS, 497, 1143

The HOSTS Survey: Evidence for an Extended Dust Disk and Constraints on the Presence of Giant Planets in the Habitable Zone of β Leo, Defrère, D., Hinz, P.M., Kennedy, G.M., Stone, J., Rigley, J., et al. (2021), AJ, 161, 186


2018 - present: PhD student, Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge

2018: Summer research internship at Wayve Technologies

2017: Summer student at CERN

2014 - 2018: MSci Natural Sciences, University of Cambridge



PhD: Astronomy, University of Cambridge (2018 - 2022)

MSci: Natural Sciences (Physics), University of Cambridge (2014-2018)


Awards and Prizes

2015-2018   Rosemary Murray Scholar

Page last updated: 19 January 2023 at 14:00