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Jayne Birkby’s exoZoo project at the Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy, University of Amsterdam, will study the atmospheres of other worlds beyond our Solar System.

Dr. Jayne Birkby

Dr. Jayne Birkby’s exoZoo project at the Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy, University of Amsterdam, will study the atmospheres of other worlds beyond our Solar System. She will use these to understand how the processes that formed the Earth and made life possible also managed to create the incredible variety of other worlds in our galaxy and how Earth fits into this amazing zoo of exoplanets. To do this, Birkby and her new team will open three ambitious new windows to observing exoplanet atmospheres using multi-resolution spectroscopy and time-resolved imaging. They will determine the ingredient list for making these extreme worlds, while also measuring how long their days are and map out storms that pass across their surfaces. exoZoo will study the faint light the planets reflect. This is key to preparing the next generation telescopes, such as ESO’s 39-m Extremely Large Telescope, to hunt for signatures of life in the atmospheres of our very nearest neighbour exoplanets, bringing us one step closer to answering the question: are we alone? 

Project acronym: exoZoo

Full project title: High Definition and Time-Resolved Studies of Exoplanet Atmospheres: A new window on the extreme diversity of the exoplanet zoo

Official ERC press release

Press release on