Sara Khalafinejad (Kamalisarvestani)

Research in brief


I am a PhD student at Hamburg Observatory. The main area of my research is the study of the atmospheres of transiting exoplanets. In the past two decades thousands of planets, orbiting around stars other than the Sun, have been found. Understanding of the atmospheres of these co-called exoplanets is essential to find signatures of life on these worlds and also to study the formation and evolution of planetary systems. Transit method so far has been one of the most successful methods in characterization of exoplanets atmospheres. When the planet passes in front of the stellar disk, the atomic and molecular species of the planetary atmosphere absorb a fraction of the stellar light that passes through it. Thus, the transmitted light contains information on the chemical and physical characteristics of the exo-atmosphere. In the optical region the stellar light that passes through the exoplanetary atmosphere can reveal features of e.g., Na, K and can tell us whether the planets have a cloudy/hazy atmosphere. Thus, further physical information about the atmosphere can be achieved. Currently, I use optical ground-based instruments to characterize the atmospheres of giant exoplanets. In the future by the advent of giant telescopes such as ELT, GMT and TMT, we will be able to apply our methods on the Earth-like exoplanets and search for molecular oxygen.




Contact information


Address: Gojenbergsweg 112, Hamburge
Phone number: +49 40 42838 8533
e-mail: skhalafinejad [ at ]




    Please see the publications here.


Academic background


  • Bachelor in physics, Shiraz University, Shiraz-Iran, 2006-2010
  • Master in Astronomy, Leiden University, Leiden-The Netherlands, 2011-2013




Transmission Spectroscopy of HD 189733b with UVES