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Subhajit Sarkar

Dr Subhajit Sarkar

Lecturer
Astronomy Group
Astronomy Instrumentation Group
Cardiff Hub for Astrophysics Research and Technology

School of Physics and Astronomy

Email
SarkarS3@cardiff.ac.uk
Campuses
Queen's Buildings - North Building, Room N/3.22, 5 The Parade, Newport Road, Cardiff, CF24 3AA
Users
Available for postgraduate supervision

Overview

I'm a university lecturer and astrophysicist working in the field of extra-solar planets. I am involved in the development of new missions and observatories to characterise the atmospheres of exoplanets, in particular the ESA Ariel mission, as well as Twinkle and the NASA EXCITE mission.  I also am involved in cycle 1 JWST exoplanet observations in collaboration with IoA Cambridge. I am interested in understanding atmospheric and planetary processes in temperate regime sub-Neptunes and gas giants, and how these relate to fundamental questions of planet formation and the diversity of the exoplanet population.  I am also interested in astrobiology, particularly the potential for biospheres in temperate gas giants, modeling of observations to find the frequency of life-bearing worlds (the fL factor in the Drake Equation), and how exoplanetary observations might be able to constrain theories of the origin of life.

Publication

2023

2022

2021

2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2006

2005

2004

Cynadleddau

Erthyglau

Gosodiad

Gwefannau

Monograffau

Research

Research focus

  • Development of new exoplanet observatories and missions:
    • Ariel: Ariel Data Reduction Pipeline (ADaRP) development lead, simulations working group lead, spectral retrievals working group, ground segment and calibration working groups.
    • EXCITE: first dedicated phase-curve spectroscopy observatory; First Balloon-Borne Exoplanet Observatory; official NASA collaborator
    • Software developed: ExoSim, ExoSim_N, JexoSim (JWST simulator), TwinkleSim, ADaRP
  • Exoplanet atmospheres
    • JWST transmission spectroscopy
      • Co-I on Cycle 1 GO program 2722:
        'Chemical Disequilibrium in a Temperate sub-Neptune'. Approx. 20 hours. We will use NIRISS, NIRSpec and MIRI to obtain the transmission spectrum of the sub-Neptune K2-18 b from 0.6 to 12 microns.
      • Co-I on Cycle 2 GO program 3557:
        'A JWST Search for Missing Methane'.  Approx. 70 hours.  We will use NIRISS, NIRSpec and MIRI to obtain transmission spectra for 4 sub-Neptune/Neptune-sized planets.
    • Temperate gas giants: (with Luke Booth) developing modeling and observational approaches to characterise this poorly-understood exoplanet population.
    • Twinkle mission: science team member and designated observer for Cardiff, cool gas giant working group. I will be shaping the observation programme of the Twinkle exoplanet atmospheric survey.
  • Astrobiology
    • DRAKE (Dedicated Research for Advancing Knowledge of Exobiology): a proposed space mission to find the frequency of life in the Galaxy using transit spectroscopy (see paper in MNRAS).
    • Aerial biospheres in temperate gas giants: modeling these in preparation for future observations.

Teaching

Current undergraduate teaching

  • PX4245 / PXT145 Exoplanets and the Search for Life: Module Organiser (new module for Spring 2023)
  • PX2140 Stars and Planets: Deputy Module Organiser

Previous undergraduate teaching

  • PX1127 Planet Earth: Module Organiser
  • PX2140 Stars and Planets: guest lecturer
  • PX1127 Planet Earth: Deputy Module Organiser
  • PX2134 Structured Programming: Lab supervisor
  • PX1125 Mathematical Practice for Physical Sciences: Marker
  • PX1222 Mathematical Methods for Physicists 2: Marker

Other

  • I supervise PhD and MPhys research projects (see supervision page)

Biography

Education

  • PhD, Astrophysics, Cardiff University
  • MSc (Distinction), Space Science, University College London
  • Diploma in Physics (Distinction), Open University
  • MA, Natural Sciences, Cambridge University
  • MB, BChir, Medicine, Cambridge University
  • Grad. Cert. Applied Sciences, Space Studies, University of South Australia
  • Space Studies Program, International Space University

Professional memberships

  • Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Academic positions

  • 2022- Present: Lecturer, School of Physics and Astronomy, Cardiff University
  • 2017-2021: Post-doctoral Research Associate, Cardiff University
  • 2013-2017: Post-graduate Research Student, Cardiff University
  • 2003-2005: Visiting Researcher, Space Medicine & Health Care Systems Office, NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston.
  • 2003-2005: Honorary Lecturer in Space Life Sciences, Dept. of Space & Climate Physics, University College London

Outreach and Media

  • BBC Radio Wales Science Cafe interview about the ARIEL space mission (April 2018).
  • Pythagorean Astronomy podcast interview about TESS, ARIEL and other exoplanet missions (April 2018).
  • Exoplanet talks for Cardiff AS Level Summer Programmes 2018/19.
  • Stargazing talk and telescope observing with Scouts (Spring 2019).
  • Online astronomy talk with Scouts (Winter 2020).
  • 'All About Space' magazine interview about Ariel mission ('Rise of the Exoplanet Hunter') (Jan 2021).
  • Twinkle mission YouTube video ('The Founding Members') (Aug 2021).
  • Pythagorean Astronomy podcast interview about JWST observing programme (Dec 2021).
  • Cardiff School of Physics & Astronomy YouTube video about JWST (Dec 2021).
  • BBC News Wales interview about exoplanets and JWST (July 2022).
  • Nature News and Views article on JWST (Feb 2023).

Committees and reviewing

I currently serve on the following school committees:  a) Equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI), b) Ethics, c) Environment and sustainability. I am on also the CHART-GEI Schools Engagement Project management team. 

Supervisions

Current supervision

  • I am primary PhD supervisor for Luke Booth who is researching exoplanet atmospheres.
  • I am currently on the supervisory team as mentor for two PhD students.
  • I currently supervise the 3rd year project "Missions to the planets" and the 4th year project "Habitable exomoons"

Current supervision

Luke Booth

Mr Luke Booth

Research student