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Kaustubh is a PhD candidate at the Department of Earth Sciences, VU Amsterdam and the Anton Pannekoek Astronomical Institute, University of Amsterdam. He has previously obtained his MSc (magna cum laude) degree in Astronomy and Astrophysics from KU Leuven, Belgium and BTech (Honours) degree in Electronics Engineering from IIT Kharagpur, India.


The composition and mineralogy of rocky exoplanets forming close to their host stars

This project is funded by the NWO Planetary and Exo-planetary Science (PEPSci) program. Kaustubh is working with Prof. Dr. Wim van Westrenen (VU) and Prof. Dr. Carsten Dominik (UvA) to constrain the composition and mineralogy of rocky exoplanets. 

The discoveries of rocky exoplanets close to their host stars in chemically diverse environments suggest that these exoplanets might have different composition from that of the terrestrial planets of our solar system. This poses a challenge for the construction of interior structure models of such exoplanets since those models are often based on the extrapolation of knowledge about the terrestrial planets.

The aim is to perform high-pressure-temperature experiments on the piston cylinder apparatus and analyse the run products with the electron probe microanalyser to study the mineralogy of rocky exoplanets with compositions different from that of the terrestrial planets. The second aim is to use the results of the mineralogy study to compute the interior structure models of these rocky exoplanets. Such models will provide realistic mass-radius relations and help to constrain the interior structure and composition of observed rocky exoplanets.

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