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Cool Stars and Exoplanets

My main area of research is on the interaction of exoplanets with their host star’s wind. For that, I develop 3D magnetohydrodynamics numerical simulations of winds of cool stars, which permeate entire exoplanetary systems.
Wind simulation of the planet-hosting star HD189733. The distance to the planet's orbit is indicated to scale. The stellar magnetic field (lines shown in grey) is anchored on the star


CUTE: The CUTE space mission was selected by NASA for funding! With this small satellite, we will observe transiting exoplanets in the ultraviolet region of the spectrum. This will allows us to learn more about atmospheric escape and exoplanetary magnetism. The first CUTE science meeting took place in the School of Physics, TCD, on 26-27 Oct 2017. Learn more about CUTE here.

Planets around other Suns: My inaugural lecture in the School of Physics, TCD, with Prof Andrew Cameron, will take place on Dec 8, 2016, at the Schroedinger Theatre.

Nearby star offers new insight into Earth’s Sun: 61 Cya A is the first star known to vary its magnetic field like our own Sun. Fascinating! Check out the press release here. The original work, led by PhD Student Sudeshna Boro-Saikia, is published in the Astronomy & Astrophysics (pdf).

There's Life On Earth But Not On Mars - Here’s One Reason Why: The wind of the young Sun is likely to have been stronger than its present-day value. Check out the press release here. The original work was published in the The Astrophysical Journal Letters (pdf).

Hot Jupiters courting baby stars?: Preliminary evidence that a hot Jupiter orbits a 2-Myr star of the Taurus star forming region. This finding suggests that hot Jupiters can be generated in as little as a few million years - a timescale equivalent to one week if the 10-billion-year-lifetime of a planetary system were scaled down to a human life. You can check the press release “Hot Jupiters courting baby stars?” here. The original work has been published in Donati et al (2015, MNRAS 453, 3706).

Supercomputers listen for extraterrestrial life: You can check the press release “Supercomputers listen for extraterrestrial life” here, written by Lance Farrell. The original work has been published in MNRAS.

4th Bcool Meeting (Feb/2015): The 2015 meeting of the Bcool collaboration was held in Geneva. Please follow this link for the meeting webpage.

Cool Stars 18 (June/2014): Please follow this link for the splinter session ‘Cool Stars and Space Weather’, during Cool Stars 18. A summary of the session can be found in this paper.


Prof. Aline A Vidotto

Assistant Professor
School of Physics
Trinity College Dublin