National Centre of Competence in Research PlanetS
Gesellschaftsstrasse 6 | CH-3012 Bern | Switzerland
Tel. +41 (0)31 631 32 39

Disks & Planets


Project Leader: Prof. Hans Martin Schmid

We aim to observationally attack two questions central to the formation and evolution of planetary systems:

  1. What are the initial conditions of planet formation and how do the systems evolve dynamically?
  2. Where, when, and how frequently do giant planets form around normal stars?





Initial Conditions, Structure, and Evolution of Circumstellar Disks

Prof. Hans Martin Schmid

Our approach to the first question requires combination of direct images of circumstellar discs (in thermal emission as well as scattered starlight) with analyses of their emergent spectral energy distributions (SED), to understand the geometric distribution of dust (as a function of grain size and composition) around stars (0.5 M ¤ to 2.5 M ¤ ), as a function of time (1 Myr to several Gyr).

Detection and Characterization of Exoplanets

Dr. Sascha Quanz

Our approach to the second question will be to exploit ground-based adaptive optics imaging surveys (e.g., NACO-VLT, SPHERE, ERIS), mainly by investing in new exoplanet detection algorithms, in order to directly image and characterize exoplanets not accessible to the radial velocity (RV) and transit techniques, and complementary to future results of the CHEOPS Project.



Formation of a planetary system (11/13/2014) - Image at 7 mm wavelength of the dusty disk around the star HD 169142 obtained with the Very Large Array (VLA) at 7 mm wavelength. The positions of the protoplanet candidates are marked with plus signs (+) (Osorio, M. et al. 2014, ApJ, Para 791, L36). The insert in the upper right corner shows, at […]
Baby-planets around a nearby star (11/13/2014) - This graphic is an artist’s conception of the young massive star HD100546 and its surrounding disk. Image Credit: P. of Marenfeld & NOAO/AURA/NSF An international team including ETH scientists has discovered for new evidence that planets are forming around a  star about 335 light years from Earth. The team found emission from carbon monoxide molecules […]
Weather on an Exo-Neptune (11/13/2014) - Image at 7 mm wavelength of the dusty disk wholesale jerseys around the star HD 169142 obtained with the Very Large Array (VLA) at 7 mm wavelength. The positions of the protoplanet candidates are L’aveu marked with plus signs (+) (Osorio et al. 2014, ApJ, 791, L36). The insert in the upper right corner shows, […]
The Birth of a Planet (7/1/2015) - Astronomers of PlanetS have confirmed the existence of a young gas giant planet that is still embedded in the gas and dust rich disk around its young host star. For the first time scientists are now able to directly study the planet formation process at a very early stage.    For a full night a […]
Mysterious structures (10/7/2015) - A research team has observed structures racing out from the centre of a young star’s debris disk at high speeds. “It looks as if someone had smudged a freshly painted picture into a wavy line with their finger,” says ETH astrophysicist Christian Thalmann. “We were speechless when we saw the image for the first time […]
First Circumbinary Planet System with Disc (2/10/2016) - Planet-hunting SPHERE Images First Circumbinary Planet System with Disc HD 106906AB is a double star located in the constellation of Crux (The Southern Cross). Astronomers had long suspected that this 13 million-year-old stellar duo was encircled by a debris disc, due to the system’s youth and characteristic radiation. However, this disc had remained unseen — […]
Water in the atmosphere of Kappa And b (3/18/2016) - New estimate of the water abundance in a planetary mass object spatially resolved from its host star.  Dr. Kamen Todorov of ETH led a team that modelled the spectrum of Kappa And b.  We hope to coordinate our efforts in this area through the NCCR PlanetS and apply similar techniques to other directly imaged planets. […]
Workshop on Circumplanetary Disks (7/1/2016) - Twenty-eight NCCR PlanetS researchers representing six out of the seven research projects met on 7 June at the ETH in Zurich to discuss the properties of circumplanetary disks thought to exist around forming gas giant planets. Many models for the formation of the largest satellites of the gas/ice giants in the Solar System assume such […]
ETH welcomes the ERIS Consortium to the Hönggerberg! (7/19/2016) - On 19-20 July, approximately 30 scientists and engineers representing five partner institutions met on the ETH Honggerberg campus to review progress on the Enhanced Resolution Imager and Spectrograph (ERIS) under development for the European Southern Observatory (ESO) Very Large Telescope (VLT). The ERIS consortium, comprised of the Max-Planck-Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (PI:  R. Davies), the […]
Supernova ejecta pollute young planetary systems (8/10/2016) - The early phase of star and planet formation can be very violent. Usually, dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of stars are born closely together in a huge cluster environment. And around each of these stars young planetary systems form from a gas and dust disk — also the Solar System went through this early phase of […]


PhD Student
+41 44 633 61 11 
PhD Student
+41 44 633 70 19
Senior Researcher
+41 31 631 47 65
Project Leader P2.3
+41 44 633 28 30
SNSF Ambizione Fellow
+41 44 635 66 89

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