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Dr Subhajit Sarkar

Research Associate
Astronomy Instrumentation Group

School of Physics and Astronomy

+44 (0)29 2087 0116
N/0.05, Queen's Buildings - North Building, 5 The Parade, Newport Road, Cardiff, CF24 3AA

I’m a post-doctoral researcher interested in the characterisation of extra-solar planets. I perform computer simulations and am developing the data reduction pipeline for the ARIEL mission, selected by ESA, the first space telescope dedicated to exoplanet spectroscopy.  

  • PhD, Astrophysics, Cardiff
  • MSc (Distinction), Space Science, University College London
  • Diploma in Physics (Distinction), Open University
  • MA, Natural Sciences, Cambridge
  • MB, BChir, Medicine, Cambridge
  • Formerly:
    • Visiting Researcher, Space Medicine and Health Care Systems Office, NASA Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas
    • Honorary Lecturer, MSc in Space Science, Dept. of Space & Climate Physics, University College London

Professional memberships

Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Speaking engagements

  • Invited speaker. Digital Exoplanets conference. Prague. Jan 28th 2019.
  • Presented talks and posters at national and international academic conferences including EPSC, SPIE, NAM and UKEXOM.
  • Outreach activities:
    • BBC Wales Science Cafe interview about the ARIEL space mission (April 2018).
    • Pythagorean Astronomy podcast interview about TESS, ARIEL and other current and future exoplanet missions mission (April 2018).
    • Talks to year 12 students during Cardiff AS Level Summer Programmes 2018 and 2019 about planets and exoplanets.
    • Stargazing talk and telescope observing with Scouts (for their astronomy badge) (Spring 2019).

Committees and reviewing

  • Journal reviewer, Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.
  • School Approval Panel for MSc in Physics and MSc in Astrophysics programmes at Cardiff.
  • Co-covener, "Future instruments to detect and characterise extrasolar planets", ESPC-DPS meeting, Geneva, 2019.








Current undergraduate:

  • PX2140 Stars and Planets (6 Lectures on planet formation and exoplanets. Second lecturer)
  • PX1127 Planet Earth (2 Lectures on human spaceflight. Deputy module organiser)

Former undergraduate:

  • PX2134 Structured Programming (Lab Supervisor)
  • PX1125 Mathematical Practive for Physical Sciences (Marker)
  • PX1222 Mathematical Methods for Physicists 2 (Marker)


  • I have also given a lecture on planet formation and exoplanets as part of the postgraduate lecture series for new PhD students

Research areas:

  • Impact of stellar variability and activity on exoplanet transmission spectra and development of mitigation strategies. 
  • Modeling the impact of instrumental noise and systematics on exoplanet observations
  • Development and application of observational simulators, e.g. ARIELSim - the dedicated ARIEL end-to-end simulator.
  • Development of data reduction pipelines, e.g. ADaRP, the official ARIEL Data Reduction Pipeline, where I curate the Pipeline Science Description Document.
  • Transit light curve analysis and detrending
  • Detection of Earth-like atmospheres

Working groups and collaborations:

  • I convene the ARIEL simulations working group, and am also an active member of the ground segment WG, calibration WG and spectral retrievals WG.
  • I have previously worked on simulations for the TWINKLE space mission, and will lead the Cardiff contribution to the mission.
  • I am a collaborator on the proposed NASA EXCITE balloon telescope to characterize exoplanets from Antarctica.

  • I currently co-supervise with Matt Griffin two MSci students for their final year project. 
    • The subject of the project is: 'Designing a telescope to detect the atmospheres of Earth-like planets'.
  • I am currently on the supervisory team as mentor for 2 PhD students.

Past projects

  • I have previous co-supervised with Matt Griffin, one MSc student for their research project.
  • I have previously co-supervised with Enzo Pascale,  2 students in their final year MSci projects. 
  • The areas covered were:
    • 1) Signal and noise simulations for exoplanet observations by the TWINKLE instrument.
    • 2) Simulations of star spots and faculae and their impact on exoplanet transmission spectra.