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Scientific activities / projects, PhD position

Constraining the Love number k2, h2 of exoplanets

Starting date

1 June 2021

Duration of contract

3 years


in accordance to the German civil service tariff up to TVöD 13

Type of employment


At the Department of Extrasolar Planets and Atmospheres at the Institute of Planetary Research (Berlin, Germany) photometric time-series data are analyzed to detect and characterize exoplanets (mass, radius etc); also, numerical models are developed to model their light curves, shapes and atmospheres.

Love numbers are measuring the reaction of a celestial body to perturbing forces (e.g. tidal forces, centrifufal rotation). These reactions can be e.g. tidal shape deformation, orbital precession etc.  The measurement of polar flattening or orbital precession of exoplanets may constrain the Love numbers and this can open a new dimension in the understanding of the planetary interiors.

Matter Under Planetary Interior Conditions (High Pressure, Planetary, and Plasma Physics ) is a Research Unit located in Rostock, Hamburg, Bayreuth and Berlin (Germany) and funded by the German Research Foundation DFG.
The scope of the Research Unit is aiming at an improved knowledge of the composition and interior structure of planetary interiors through an interdisciplinary approach, involving experiments, theory and modeling activities.

Here, the focus of this PhD work will be on the construction of combined numerical light curve and radial velocity modeling code to measure the polar flattening as well as eccentricity and orbital precession of exoplanets. The results quantity can then be used to give constraints on the Love-number of the exoplanet. The code can be applied to observational data of archive data and of ongoing future satellite missions such as CoRoT, Kepler, K2, TESS, CHEOPS, JWST and PLATO, too. The Research Unit as a whole, will give a particular emphasis on the derivation of scaling laws for exoplanets, relating mass, radius, thermal state, and equilibrium shape as induced by rotational and tidal distortions to each other.

Within the department of Extrasolar Planets and Atmospheres, you will work primarily together with Szilárd Csizmadia, but, of course, you will be in contact with all department members. In case of any question, please contact Sz. Csizmadia at szilard.csizmadia@dlr.de.

Your qualifications:

  • Diplom or Master degree in physics, astronomy, astrophysics, or similar field
  • knowledge of scientific programming in high-level language, e. g. IDL, GDL, Java, C++ or Python, and in script languages in UNIX/Windows environment
  • expertise in one of the following fields: high precision light curve of space observations and in modelling of transit light curves of exoplanets or binaries, or in planning, data reduction, analysis and modelling of high precision radial velocity data; expertise in modelling stellar activity is beneficial
  • deep interest in numerical modelling, planetary research and mathematics
  • availaibility to business trips
  • ability to work alone as well as in a team in a structured way
  • good knowledge of English, excellent communication skills, including ability to write in English
  • For non-native German speakers, the knowledge of German is an advantage

Your benefits:

Look forward to a fulfilling job with an employer who appreciates your commitment and supports your personal and professional development. Our unique infrastructure offers you a working environment in which you have unparalleled scope to develop your creative ideas and accomplish your professional objectives. Our human resources policy places great value on a healthy family and work-life-balance as well as equal opportunities for persons of all genders (f/m/x). Individuals with disabilities will be given preferential consideration in the event their qualifications are equivalent to those of other candidates.

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Technical contact

Dr. Szilard Csizmadia
Institute of Planetary Research

Phone: +49 30 67055-337

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Vacancy 52004

HR department Berlin

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DLR site Berlin

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DLR Institute of Planetary Research

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