We are the astronomy and space research group at the TU Graz. Most of our group is located at the Space Research Institute of the Austrian Academy of Science, a pleasent 15mins bike-ride from the Physics instituts of the TU Graz. We will attend and contribute to the ITPC seminars and its teaching portfolio.

Getting in contact:

Prof. Christiane Helling (IWF page, LinkedIn) is teaching at the TU Graz the course "Exoplanets and our place in the universe – an interdisciplinary approach“ (PHT.525UF Special Topics of Technical Physics). This course can be taken by students from the TU Graz and the University Graz and hopes to attract also students from outside natural sciences.  Christane Helling is leading the Young Researcher Program for Interdisciplinary Space Science and Planetary Research.

Students can work with us on Bachelor, Master or PhD projects. 

Our research drivers:

  • How diverse are exoplanets?
  • Is our own Solar System special or typical?
  • How can we reliably infer exoplanet properties from observations?
  • How can we infer the history of exoplanets despite the complexity of the system?
  • Could life evolve outside of the Solar System?

which we address by studying the following topics:

  • Kinetic cloud formation in diverse atmospheric environments
  • Formation of cloud condensation nuclei in planets other than Earth
  • Mapping the global cloud distribution of extrasolar planets based on 3D GCMs
  • Ionisation processes and the emergence of ionospheres on extrasolar planets
  • Chemical composition of exoplanet atmospheres and their possible link to planet formation

We are closely working together with the IWF group "Planet-forming disks and Astrochemistry". Both groups are involved in the Marie-Curie Training Network CHAMELEON "Virtual Laboratories for Exoplanets and Planet-Forming Disks".

We are leading two science workpackages for the PLATO mission:

  • 3D Exoplanet Climate Modelling (Ludmial Carone)
  • Cloud and gas chemstry in planetary atmospheres (Christiane Helling)

More details about our research are  here (TUG)  and here (IWF).

Our science output:

Our research papers are made publically available on arXiv as soon as they have been accepted for publication in a refereed journal. 

Master/ Bachelor topics
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Please contact us for Master- and Bachelor topics directly. Possible topics include:

Bachelor:

Exoplanet cloud formation modelling: The need for thermodynamic data accuracy

Space research: The effect of evaporating space debris on the composition of the Earth's atmosphere

Exoplanet atmospheres:  Probing the 3D atmosphere structures in transit geometry

Masters:

Exoplanet cloud formation modelling: Forming cloud condensation nucleii from TiO2-isomers

Exoplanets in the galaxy: The effect of the changing UV and CR galactic background on atmospheric C/N/O/H chemistry

YRP @ Graz
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The Space Research Institut of the Austrian Academy of Science is running a Young Researcher Progamm for Interdisciplinary Space Science and Planetary Research (YRP@Graz) for undergraduate and graduate students.