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Research at St Andrews

Moira Mary Jardine


Moira Mary Jardine
Postal address:
School of Physics & Astronomy
Physical Science Building
North Haugh
St Andrews
United Kingdom


Web address:

Direct phone: +44 (0)1334 463146

Research overview

I am a professor of Astronomy at the University of St Andrews. I was appointed to a personal chair in 2010 when I became the first female professor of physics at this University. The aim of my research is to understand the evolutionary history of our own solar system and the fundamental physics that governs planet habitability. To achieve this, I study the magnetic activity of a range of stars. This activity drives both the stellar wind and the coronal X-ray emission that can erode and irradiate planetary atmospheres. This has a long-term impact on the ability of the planet to harbour complex life.

Magnetic activity is also a major barrier to exoplanet detection, so this work is of strategic importance for future exoplanet studies with NIR instruments such as SPIROU and CARMENES and also for missions such as MEarth, JWST, EChO, GAIA and WFIRST. In the longer term, it also underpins all astrobiology initiatives aimed at understanding the development of life, since planets and their host stars are interdependent and so their evolution must be considered together.

Although I am primarily a theorist, my work involves a very integral relationship with large international observing teams. I mainly achieve this through several consortia: MagIcS (PI: Donati - includes over 100 scientists from over 10 countries) and Bcool (PI Petit - a large-scale survey of the magnetic activity of solar-like stars).

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