Dr. Christiane Helling
- Research Theme:
- St. Andrews
- Email address:
- Telephone number:
- +44 (0)1334 461666
- School of Physics & Astronomy, Physical Science Building, North Haugh, St Andrews, KY16 9SS, United Kingdom
Ch Helling is the founding director of the St Andrews Centre for Exoplanet Science and a former ERC starting grant holder at the University of St Andrews.
Her main interest are modelling physics and chemistry in brown dwarf and planetary atmospheres. The understanding of exoplanet atmopsheres is hampered by cloud layers that block our views, and that are made of silicate-like materials rather than of water. Christiane Helling and Peter Woitke developed the equations that now allow to model the formation of cloud, and to predict their properties. This is a theoretical description of gas - solid/liquid phase transitions which includes nucleation, growth and evaporation, and the influence of relative motions between gas and dust on the growth process. Ch Helling's work has, for the first time, provided insight in the formation process of clouds in brown dwarfs as well as in details like grain compositions and size distribution, both essential for predicting and understanding observed spectra.
With the ERC grant, Ch Helling's now included ionisation processes in ultra-cool atmosphere. This links very well with her work on cloud formation as it includes cloud and gas charge and discharge processes, the effects of lightning, the origin of radio and X-ray emission from such cool atmospheres.
Ch Helling's work applies knowledge from other disciplines and developes it further for the extreme conditions encountered in astrophysical objects. She has a strong interest in interdiscipinary work.
I taught 2nd, 3rd, 4/5th yr level at the University of St Andrews. This includes 'Fluids', parts of 'Exoplanets' which is now 2nd yr astronomy, 'Contemporary Astrophysics', 2nd yr Physics, and 'Advanced Topics in Modern Physics'. I am supervising PhD, final-year, and summer students.
- Spitzer microlensing parallax for OGLE-2017-BLG-0896 reveals a counter-rotating low-mass brown dwarf DOI, Astronomical Journal, 157, 3 (2019)
- Exonephology DOI, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 481, 1 , p. 194-205 (2018)
- Triboelectrification of KCl and ZnS particles in approximated exoplanet environments DOI, Astrophysical Journal, 867, 2 (2018)
- Environmental effects on the ionisation of brown dwarf atmospheres DOI, Astronomy & Astrophysics, 618 (2018)
- Exo-lightning radio emission DOI, the case study of HAT-P-11b, p. 345-356 (2018)
- Insight into atmospheres of extrasolar planets through plasma processes DOI, p. 335-344 (2018)
- Simulating the cloudy atmospheres of HD 209458 b and HD 189733 b with the 3D Met Office Unified Model DOI, Astronomy & Astrophysics, 615 (2018)
- Equlibrium chemistry down to 100 K DOI, Astronomy & Astrophysics, 614 (2018)
- OGLE-2017-BLG-0329L DOI, Astrophysical Journal, 859, 2 (2018)
- An absolute sodium abundance for a cloud-free 'hot Saturn' exoplanet DOI, Nature, 557, p. 526-529 (2018)