Ground Based Telescopes

Panetary Sciences

in Spain and Portugal


Europlanet Society


Europlanet Society










Hub Activities


& Stakeholders

Tytle:  Tackling Venus atmosphere from different approaches: theory-modelling, observations and space missions Reference of the FPI contract CEX2021-001131-S-20-1

Centre:  Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía - CSIC

Type:  Predoctoral


Venus is in the spotlight of the public and scientific community after the selection of 3 missions:  DAVINCI and VERITAS by NASA and EnVision by ESA/NASA. It remains an open question how  Venus and the Earth started so similarly but become such different worlds. Thus, studying Venus is essential for understanding the links between planetary evolution and the habitability of terrestrial planets,  including those outside our Solar System. Several Earth-sized exoplanets have been recently detected in short-period orbits of a few Earth days around low-mass stars. Those planets have stellar irradiation levels several times that of the Earth, suggesting that a Venus-like climate is more likely than an  Earth-like. Consequently, the atmosphere of our closest planet Venus represents a relevant case to address observational prospects of rocky close-in orbit exoplanets.

The successful candidate will be in particular involved in EnVision mission, notably, he/she will join the international consortium of the high-resolution spectrographs VenSpec-H and VenSpec- U. She/he will use a sophisticated 3D model for Venus that has been developed since 2010 at LMD/IPSL in France, in the frame of a collaboration between different European institutions, including IAA-CSIC, to analyze and identify potential physical, chemical, or dynamical processes driving the variability of trace gases above the cloud tops of Venus (70 km altitude, approximately). Heterogenous chemical processes will be implemented and studied, and the impact of complex cloud models and scenarios on the water and sulphur species will be interpreted. These model developments will also contribute to the Venus Climate database (VCD), an online platform containing the meteorological fields derived from the Venus 3D Model and provides the scientific community with a climatology for many characteristics of the Venusian atmosphere from the surface to the exosphere, in addition, a similar but simplified condensation cloud model will be implemented into a  “Generic” 3D model, developed for exoplanets and paleoclimate studies, to simulate H2SO4-H2O clouds  “interactively” in the atmosphere of Venus-analogues around both Sun-like and M-dwarf stars, with the primary goal of providing realistic predictions of future observations of cloudy rocky exoplanets foreseen by the Webb Space Telescope and new-generation instruments and facilities (e.g. ELT).

The PhD thesis advisors will be Gabriella Gilli and Luisa M. Lara


Tytle: 3 PhD positions in IA-Porto for exoplanets

Centre:Instituto de Astrofísica e Ciências do Espaço

Type:  Predoctoral


The positions are offered in the context of the project "FIERCE: Finding Exoearths: tackling the challenges of stellar activity" funded by the European Research Council under an Advanced Grant with the reference 101052347. The work will be developed at CAUP (in the Porto node of the Instituto de Astrofísica e Ciências do Espaço), under the scientific supervision of Nuno C. Santos and/or other members of the scientific team of IA.

Fellowship duration: Each fellowship should start between the 1st of September and the 1st of October 2023, renewable on a yearly basis, and has a maximum duration of 48 months

Work plan: The detection and characterisation of other Earths, planets with the physical conditions to hold liquid water and thus potential life-sustaining environments, is a bold objective of present-day astrophysics. This goal continuously pushes the development of new ground- and space-based instrumentation. However, the quest for other Earths is severely limited by astrophysical “noise” from the host stars, whose signatures distort the spectra used to detect and characterize the planets.

The PhD projects, offered in the context of one Advanced Grant funded by the European Research Council, are related with the development of new methods and analysis tools to tackle the problem of stellar noise in exoplanet research. In particular we expect the successful candidates to contribute to the development and exploitation of data from the PoET solar telescope and ESPRESSO spectrograph (ESO) to:

1) develop new approaches to reach the 10 cm/s barrier in Doppler radial velocity measurements needed to find and characterize other Earths orbiting other Suns;

2) model and correct stellar noise in transmission spectroscopy used to study exoplanet atmospheres.

Exoplanet data obtained with the ESPRESSO and NIRPS (ESO) spectrographs may also be made available.

The projects will have a strong impact on the exploitation of data from future ground-based projects and space-based missions such as ANDES@ELT (ESO) and PLATO (ESA).


Tytle: PreDoc position open at IAA-CSIC (PID2021-126365NB-C21 - "SIGNORA"

Centre: Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía - CSIC

Type:  Predoctoral


The importance of studying comets to advance the knowledge of the processes that shaped our Solar System is recognized by the different space agencies, especially by the European Space Agency. The huge scientific returns of Giotto, Rosetta, and other comet missions are unquestioned. These ground-breaking endeavours have explored periodic comets that have approached the Sun many times, thus undergoing surface compositional and morphological modification, and blanketing by thick layers of dust. Thus, a truly pristine comet has yet to be encountered and explored. The future Comet Interceptor (ESA/JAXA) mission, in whose definition the PhD advisors (Pedro J. Gutiérrez and Luisa M. Lara) actively participate, is aimed at this goal. This mission is a new approach to exploring a comet very likely entering the inner Solar System for the first time, or, possibly, encountering an interstellar object originating at another star. Due to the extremely high orbital eccentricities of either type of target, the Comet Interceptor mission is by necessity a flyby like Giotto rather than a rendezvous like Rosetta, but the concept of the mission is scientifically compelling, and it combines the first exploration of a new type of target, as was the case for Giotto, with unique measurements that go beyond what Rosetta achieved, in some areas.

The Comet Interceptor mission involves separate spacecraft elements working together to ensure a low-risk, bountiful, interdisciplinary scientific return through unprecedented multi-point measurements. ESA is responsible for two of the spacecraft (A and B2) while JAXA will provide the third one (named B1). Multiple viewing positions will greatly increase the 3D information provided on the target and its jets/coma. The unique simultaneous multi-point measurements possible from a multi-spacecraft comet flyby will also greatly advance our understanding of the complex 3D structure of the coma, including its composition and chemical reactions, and its link with both the nucleus and the solar wind environment. The latter presents a highly dynamic and poorly understood structure of interacting plasma and fields, which this mission will be uniquely sensitive to, across a wide range of spatial scales.

The pre-doc researcher would follow the Physics and Space Sciences doctoral programme of the University of Granada. As we expect a deep involvement within the Comet Interceptor mission, several stays at different European research institutions of the team are foreseen. We plan short stays at DLR in Berlin, at Edinburgh University and at the Istituto di Fotonica e Nanotecnologie in Padova.

The goal of the PhD thesis project will be the development of new tools to analyse the coma of comets, mainly from the gas composition standpoint, and apply them to analyse both observations that we already have available and new comets to be observed. After the first period in which the predoctoral is expected to acquire the basic knowledge related to the field, it is planned his/her training in observing comets (both through spectra and broadband filters) taking advantage of our large experience in the field. In parallel, the FPI, starting from the codes already available to us, will develop new tools, considering our present understanding of coma processes, to analyse coma data. The application to actual observations is granted as we already have a large archived set of cometary data. Due to the potential involvement of the predoc in the Comet Interceptor mission, there are strong chances that he/she will continue his/her career in cometary science as a postdoc in the frame of the mission as an Associated Scientist.

The official announcement for pre-doc position within the project SIGNORA at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (IAA) in Granada, Spain is now available. T
Look for the application link "Acceso applicación solicitud.." in: https://www.aei.gob.es/convocatorias/buscador-convocatorias/ayudas-contratos-predoctorales-formacion-doctores-2022. The call closes on Jan 26. There is also information on the administrative requirements available at https://www.aei.gob.es/convocatorias/buscador-convocatorias/ayudas-contratos-predoctorales-formacion-doctores-2022-1.

Interested candidates can contact Luisa M. Lara (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and/or Pedro J. Gutiérrez (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) for further information.