Jesus Maldonado


Jesus Maldonado, INAF – Astronomical Observatory of Palermo, Italy

Role: Contributor of the PSM WPs 131.220 and 123.000

Academic formation:

  • Degree in Physics, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, June 2005
  • PhD in Astrophysics and Cosmology, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, June 2012

Jobs and grants:

  • Assistant Fellow at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, September – December 2005
  • PhD fellow at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, September 2006 – August 2010
  • Assistant teacher at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, October 2010 – September 2013
  • Postdoctoral position at INAF – Osservatorio astronomico di Palermo, October 2013 – September 2018
  • Staff position at INAF – Osservatorio astronomico di Palermo, from October 2018


Research interests:

  • Cool stars, circumstellar discs, exoplanets

Summary of research:

Exoplanetary science has revealed an astonishing diversity in the planetary masses, radii, temperatures, and orbital parameters. My main research topic tries to understand this diversity by studying the properties of different types of planet hosts. More specifically, I have studied the different outputs of the planet formation process (from planetesimals to giant planets and brown dwarfs) as a function of the stellar mass by analysing the chemical properties of large samples of different stellar hosts, from solar type-stars to M dwarfs and from main-sequence to evolved stars.

A high fraction of the analysed stars have been observed in the framework of international collaborations: the Herschel – DUNES (DUst ARound Nearby Stars) Project, a project aimed to detected debris discs as the one of the Edgeworth-Kuiper belt; The Global Architecture of Planetary Systems (GAPS) and The HArps-n red Dwarf Exoplanet Survey (HADES) radial velocity surveys, aimed to study planetary systems as a function of the hosts’ characteristics and to the detection of small, rocky, planets in the habitable zone around M dwarfs.

Currently, I’m working on understanding the first steps of planet formation by analyzing young stars and stars with signatures of planet formation. This has not done before and its now only possible thanks to the development of high-resolution near-infrared spectrographs like GIARPS in which I am involved. In parallel, I’m working on new approaches to deal with the stellar noise, when searching for low-mass planets, as the HARSP-N solar telescope. The approach is to observe the Sun as a star, correlating the changes in the surface inhomogeneities with variations in the radial velocity.
Combining all the results we will be able to put together all the pieces of the planetary formation puzzle. In a near/mid future, the outcome of dedicated surveys aimed to characterise the atmospheres of large samples of different kind of planets will allow us to link the stellar chemistry with the planetary atmospheres and the potential conditions for life.