Scientific and Teaching Activities

I am an astrophysicist working for the PLATO space mission of the European Space Agency. After launch in 2026, PLATO will observe about a million stars over several years to discover Earth-like planets. I am responsible for computer simulations of stellar light curves, development of outlier detection algorithms in lightcurves, computer code implementation of statistical data analysis, and data mining. My scientific interest is in the detection, orbital evolution, and habitability of extrasolar planets and moons and I am the first author of 26 peer-reviewed journal publications. These are some of my most important discoveries:

I am a lecturer at the University of Göttingen and I supervise master and PhD students at both the University of Göttingen and at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research.


2018/Sep/12: Published research paper "Revisiting the exomoon candidate signal around Kepler-1625b" (Rodenbeck, Heller, Hippke, Gizon 2018, A&A)

2018/Aug/17: Radio interview with Bayern2 about the question of extraterrestrial life

2018/Jul/29: Poster presentation at the Cool Stars 20 workshop in Boston (MA, USA) [PDF, 5.8 MB]

2018/Jun/21: Seminar talk at the Astrophysikalisches Kolloquium of the Institute for Astrophysics Göttingen [PDF, 13 MB]

2018/Jun/20: Interview with The New York Times about Earth's summer solstice and the effect of seasons the habitability of extrasolar planets

2018/Jun/18: Published pre-print of research paper "Formation of hot Jupiters through disk migration and evolving stellar tides" (Heller 2018b, A&A submitted)

2018/Mar/27: Published white paper "Investigating Planet Formation (...) with Short-Period Exoplanets" (Jackson, Adams, Heller, Endl 2018) for National Academy of Sciences

Dr. René Heller

Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research
Justus-von-Liebig-Weg 3
37077 Göttingen

phone: (0049) 551 - 384 979 252
e-mail: heller[AT]
twitter: @DrReneHeller
Hypothetical exomoons about Kepler-22b

last update: 18 September 2018