ERC Consolidator Grant voor onderzoek naar binnenste van gasreuzen

ERC Consolidator Grant for studying interior of giant planets

Planetary researcher Yamila Miguel (SRON/Leiden University) receives an ERC Consolidator grant of two million Euro to study the interior structure of giant planets in our Solar System. She will use data from the Cassini and Juno missions around Saturn and Jupiter, together with the detailed data on exoplanet atmospheres obtained with the recently launched James Webb Space Telescope.

Miguel and her team will develop new computational tools, in which they incorporate new knowledge that they gained from the Juno and Cassini missions. One of the main changes is that the interiors are actually inhomogeneous. That alters the way energy is transported, leading to higher temperatures, a different density and other interactions with the atmosphere. Miguel: ‘This will lead us into a new era in the study of giant planet interiors, one that will revolutionize the way of interpreting observations in exoplanets and learning about their origins.’

On top of this ERC Consolidator grant, Miguel received two other grants in the past few weeks. An NWO/NSO grant adds one extra PhD student to the effort of understanding the interior of gas giants, as part of the call for “Use of space infrastructure for Earth Observation and Planetary Research”. This PhD student will develop physical models to interpret data from the Cassini and Juno mission about this topic. An NWO M-grant was awarded to Miguel and her Leiden colleague Matthew Kenworthy to study the formation pathways for exoplanets far from their parent stars. This grant entails one PhD student and one postdoc.

Header image: Saturn. Credit: NASA / JPL / Space Science Institute