PhD studentship at the Institute of Planetary Research – DLR (Germany)

PhD open position to work on Measuring the tidal orbital decay of transiting @ The Institute of Planetary Research (DLR)

The Institute of Planetary Research, which is part of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) is advertising a paid PhD studentship, funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). The position is to work in Berlin on the tidal decay of hot Jupiter exoplanets.

Starting date: 1 May 2021.
Applications until:
Where: Institute of Planetary Research, Rutherfordstraße 2 12489 (Berlin)
Duration of the contract: 3 year (part-time employment)
Salary: according to German TVöD 13


This PhD project is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) as part of its Priority Programme ‘Exploring theDiversity of Extrasolar Planets’ (SPP 1992). With access to data from CHEOPS, the European Space Agency’s newest space telescope, and from the Next Generation Transit Survey (NGTS) – a world-leading facility for exoplanet observations located in Chile’s Atacama desert, you will search for the signals of orbital decay, and attempt to measure the tidal quality factor of their host stars.

The eligible candidate will work towards improving our understanding of star-planet tidal interaction, which has implications for many astrophysical processes, such as planetary migration. The candidate will be responsible for a wide variety of tasks including planning observations, reducing and analyzing astronomical data, developing and fitting models to newly-acquired and archival data, interpreting results, applying for telescope time on other facilities, and reporting your results at conferences and via research papers. Within the department of Extrasolar Planets and Atmospheres of the Institute of Planetary Research, the candidate will work primarily with Dr. Alexis Smith.

Profile’s requirements 

Physicist, Astrophysicist or similar (f/m/x) with the following qualifications:

  • Masters degree (or equivalent) in physics, astronomy, astrophysics, or similar field
  • experience of scientific programming in a high-level language, such as python, IDL, Fortran or C++
  • basic knowledge of stellar and/or exoplanetary astrophysics
  • data analysis experience
  • familiarity with basic astronomical image reduction techniques and/or experience with photometric time series is desirable
  • experience of astronomical observing / observation planning is desirable
  • ability to work individually, and together as part of relatively large international teams
  • good command of the English language, excellent communication skills, including the ability to write in English. German language skills are welcome, but not required

How to apply 

The application must be done online by the link reported in the Job Offer published on the DLR website.


More information can be found in the Job Announcement.
For further information about the position and planned activities, please contact