Saturday, August 16, 2008

PhD position on extrasolar planets - Netherland

A 4-year PhD position is available at Leiden Observatory in the
field of extrasolar planets. The student will search for and
characterise planets transiting cool red dwarf stars. Planet
transits have proven to give unique and extraordinary insights
into the physical and atmospheric properties of hot, gaseous
giant planets.

Transits of much smaller, potentially rocky
planets (such as the Earth) can be studied towards red dwarf
stars. This is possible due to the significantly smaller size of
these cool dwarfs compared to stars of solar type. Several
planets have recently been discovered around red dwarfs,
including a Super-Earth (possibly within the star’s habitable
zone), and one transiting hot Neptune. Now is the time to
specifically target red dwarfs for transits, and utilise the
full potential of the transit method. The student will mainly
be working on analysis and follow-up of the WFCAM M-dwarf
Transit Survey, which has been awarded 200 nights of observing
time on the 4m UKIRT telescope to our international team.

For this project we seek excellent and enthusiastic candidates,
who are highly interested in observational astronomy.The
astronomy department at Leiden is internationally oriented and
hosts about 40 graduate students of several nationalities.
Further information about the department can be found at

Applicants should contact Dr. Snellen at the address below
for further information. Applicants should have, or soon obtain,
a masters degree in astronomy or in physics with a strong
astronomy component. Complete applications, including curriculum
vitae (with a list of courses and grades), two letters of
reference, and a letter explaining your interest
in the project, should be sent by the 8st of September 2008 to:

Dr. Ignas Snellen,
Sterrewacht Leiden, PO Box 9512, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands
tel: +31 71 527 5838;
fax: +31 71 527 5819