Dr. Aleks Scholz

Director of the University Observatory
Research Theme:
St. Andrews
Email address:
Telephone number:
+44 (0)1334 461668
School of Physics & Astronomy, Physical Science Building, North Haugh, St Andrews, KY16 9SS, United Kingdom

Research interests

I am an observational astronomer working on problems in star and planet formation. Since 2006 I am leading the project SONYC, which conducts unbiased extremely deep imaging and spectroscopy surveys of nearby star forming regions, with the goal to find all young brown dwarfs and free-floating planetary mass objects. This project will continue in the next years with new facilities like James Webb Space Telescope and with Gaia. I analyse accretion and disks of young sources, with the goal to constrain formation scenarios for stars, brown dwarfs and planets. Using time-domain observations, I study rotation, surface properties, and the dynamical environments of young stellar and substellar objects. I am working with 8-m telescopes like the ESO/VLT and Subaru, with space telescopes like Spitzer and Kepler, with submm facilities like ALMA and SMA, with the robotic 1-m telescoes of the Las Cumbres Observatory, and with our local James Gregory Telescope, the largest telescope in Scotland.


My teaching is focused on observational and introductory astrophysics. I am module coordinator and lecturer in first year astrophysics. I also coordinate the observational components of the MSc program in astrophysics. I provide observing training at our local telescopes for postgraduate and undergraduate students. In addition, I teach introductory astronomy for non-science students.

Research outputs

  1. A deep staring campaign in the σ Orionis cluster. Variability in substellar members DOI
    P. Elliott, A. Scholz, R. Jayawardhana, J. Eisloffel and E. M. Hebrard, Astronomy & Astrophysics, 608 (2017)
  2. Very low-mass stars and brown dwarfs in Upper Scorpius using Gaia DR1 DOI
    Neil J. Cook, Aleks Scholz and Ray Jayawardhana, Astronomical Journal, 154, 6 (2017)
  3. The JCMT Transient Survey DOI
    Steve Mairs, Doug Johnstone, Helen Kirk, James Lane, Graham S. Bell, Sarah Graves, Gregory J. Herczeg, Peter Scicluna, Geoffrey C. Bower, Huei-Ru Vivien Chen et al., Astrophysical Journal, 849, 2 (2017)
  4. The 2014-2017 outburst of the young star ASASSN-13db. A time-resolved picture of a very-low-mass star between EXors and FUors DOI
    A. Sicilia-Aguilar, A. Oprandi, D. Froebrich, M. Fang, J. L. Prieto, K. Stanek, A. Scholz, C. S. Kochanek, Th. Henning, R. Gredel et al., Astronomy & Astrophysics, 607 (2017)
  5. The low-mass content of the massive young star cluster RCW 38 DOI
    Koraljka Mužić, Rainer Schödel, Alexander Scholz, Vincent C. Geers, Ray Jayawardhana, Joana Ascenso and Lucas A. Cieza, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 471, 3 , p. 3699-3712 (2017)
  6. How do stars gain their mass? A JCMT/SCUBA-2 transient survey of protostars in nearby star-forming regions DOI
    Gregory J. Herczeg, Doug Johnstone, Steve Mairs, Jennifer Hatchell, Jeong-Eun Lee, Geoffrey C. Bower, Huei-Ru Vivien Chen, Yuri Aikawa, Hyunju Yoo, Sung-Ju Kang et al., Astrophysical Journal, 849, 1 (2017)
  7. Long-term variability of T Tauri stars using WASP DOI
    Laura Rigon, Alexander Scholz, David Anderson and Richard West, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 465, 4 , p. 3889-3901 (2017)
  8. The disappearing act: a dusty wind eclipsing RW Aur DOI
    I. Bozhinova, A. Scholz, G. Costigan, O. Lux, C. J. Davis, T. Ray, N. F. Boardman, K. L. Hay, T. Hewlett, G. Hodosán et al., Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 463, 4 , p. 4459-4468 (2016)
  9. A path towards understanding the rotation-activity relation of M dwarfs with K2 mission, X-ray and UV data DOI
    B. Stelzer, M. Damasso, A. Scholz and S. P. Matt, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 463, 2 , p. 1844-1864 (2016)
  10. Brown dwarf disks with Herschel: linking far-infrared and (sub)-mm fluxes DOI
    Sebastian Daemgen, Antonella Natta, Alexander Scholz, Leonardo Testi, Ray Jayawardhana, Jane Greaves and Daniel Eastwood, Astronomy & Astrophysics, 594 (2016)
Last updated: 21 Mar 2017 at 14:24