Scientific and Teaching Activities

I am an astrophysicist involved in preparations of 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. In the PLATO consortium, 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 25 peer-reviewed journal publications.

I am also a lecturer and a candidate for a habilitation 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/Apr/03: Contributed talk "Deceleration of high-velocity interstellar photon sails at α Centauri" at European Week of Astronomy and Space Science (Liverpool, UK)

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

2017/Mar/13: Contributed talk on "PLATO's On-Board Outlier Detection Algorithms" at PLATO Week 6 (Madrid, ESP)

2018/Feb/27: Published research paper "The nature of the giant exomoon candidate Kepler-1625 b-i" (Heller 2018) in A&A

2018/Feb/20: Scientific American reports on my research paper "The nature of the giant exomoon candidate Kepler-1625 b-i" (Heller 2018)

2018/Jan/02: Published research paper "Photogravimagnetic assists of light sails: a mixed blessing for Breakthrough Starshot? " (Forgan, Heller, Hippke 2018) in MNRAS

2017/Nov/21: Delivered public talk "Aufbruch zu den Sternen: Mit Breakthrough Starshot zu α Centauri und seinen Planeten" to the Förderverein Planetarium Göttingen e.V.

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: 24 May 2018