Direct imaging

Transiting planets

Statistical properties

Exoplanetary atmospheres


The study of planets located outside our Solar System is a rapidly growing research area, high on the priorities of UK and European funding agencies.

Our activities are based on expertise in theory, numerical simulations, and observations of exoplanets and their atmospheres. We produce research in direct imaging of exoplanets, spectroscopy of exoplanetary atmospheres, and modelling of their evolution. Some of our key interests lie in the interior structure and atmosphere of giant exoplanets, the detection and measurement of potential terrestrial and habitable planets, and the origin and impact of planet dynamos on planetary evolution. Our research develops numerical simulation and evolutionary models to study the formation, evolution, interior and atmospheric structure of Earth- to Jupiter-like planets. We use optical and infrared space and ground-based telescopes (e.g. HST, VLT, Gemini, GTC).

We are currently developing a new activity based on the study of atmospheric dynamics and exoplanet climatology. This is based on links with the Exeter Applied Mathematics department and the UK Meteorological Office. Find out more about this activity on our Extrasolar Planets interdisciplinary webpage.

Research areas

Direct imaging

Sasha Hinkley uses coronography, interferometry and adaptive optics to directly image giant planets in wide orbits, using large telecopes and instruments.

Transiting planets

David Sing studies transiting planets using space and ground-based international facilities.

Exoplanetary atmospheres

David Sing observes the atmospheres of exoplanets. Isabelle Baraffe and Nathan Mayne develop atmosphere models, taking into account complex physical processes like irradiation, dynamics and photochemistry.

Planetary structure

Isabelle Baraffe and Gilles Chabrier perform advanced modelling of planetary interior structure and Matthew Browning studies their magnetic field.

Planet formation

Matthew Bate performs advanced modelling of planet formation with smoothed particle hydrodynamics.  Stefan Kraus uses interferometry and other high-angular resolution techniques to study ongoing planet-formation processes in protoplanetary discs.

Radial velocity planet hunting

Tim Naylor is Science Manager for the Terra Hunting Experiment (THE) project. This project will see scientists searching for Earth-like planets in Earth-like orbits around Sun-like stars.

Current researchers


Professor Isabelle Baraffe, Professor Gilles Chabrier, Professor Matthew Bate, Professor David Sing, Dr Sasha Hinkley, Dr Nathan Mayne, Dr Eric Hébrard, Professor Tim Naylor.

Post-doctorals and Fellows

Dr Nikolay Nikolov, Dr Tom Evans, Dr Alex Kreplin, Dr Stefan Lines, Dr Ben Drummond.


Jayesh Goyal, Jessica Spake, Aarynn Carter.