The Exoplanet team at the Cavendish Laboratory is conducting coherent efforts towards the detection and characterization of exoplanets with the goal of advancing our understanding of their formation, their structure, and eventually their habitability. Beyond the detection of planetary systems, the study of exoplanet structure and atmospheres holds key insights into their origins and history as well as the long-term prospect to remotely question the potential habitability of these other worlds. While this seems an extraordinary endeavour, in light of what we have learnt about Solar System planets, only a handful of key ingredients are required to start characterizing an exoplanet. The fundamental quantities include the mass and the size of the planet, its temperature and some physical characteristics of major chemical ingredients present in its atmosphere. These fundamental parameters allow us to gather insights about the composition, formation and evolution history of planets. On theoretical foundations of planet formation mechanisms, we are still far from getting a comprehensive view of planetary system diversity and since we have yet to detect an “Earth Twin”, it makes it difficult to set our Solar System in context.
Our group is involved in several national and international instrumentation and satellite projects such as NGTS, SPECULOOS, CHEOPS, Terra Hunting Experiment and conduct observation programmes using Hubble, Spitzer, and Kepler satellites as well as ground-based observatories such as the VLT and Magellan.