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Dr Johanna Jarvis

Profile summary

  • Research Staff
  • Citizen Science Research Associate & Ogden Science Offi
  • Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics
  • School of Physical Sciences
  • j.f.jarvis

Professional biography

MPhys Astrophysics, University of Sussex, UK (2003) Upper 2nd Class
PhD 'On the origin of Lithium-Rich Stars in Open Clusters: Detailed Spectroscopy using the Very Large Telescope', Keele University, UK (2008)
I joined the astrophysics discipline of the Department of Physical Sciences at the Open University in October 2013 on a three year part-time Daphne Jackson Research Fellowship. This represents a return to research after a 6 year career break.

I have a broad knowledge base and skillset in the area of astrophysics research including transiting exoplanets, stellar atmosphere pollution, Gaia transients, remote/robotic observatory operation and maintenance, rapid response photometry and spectroscopy. I also have extensive experience of undergraduate teaching across the sciences and disseminating recent astronomical research to the general public in an accessible and enthusiastic manner. 

After completion of my existing fellowship at the Open University I aim to continue working in astrophysics while mainlining a mix of research, teaching and outreach duties ensuring I remain a skilled and productive scientist.

Research interests

I am the lead-research scientist on the semi-robotic remote telescope facility, PIRATE based in Mallorca. I utilise this facility to identify and categorise the transiting exoplanet candidates identified by the SuperWASP survey. I also work with the Gaia satellite, as PIRATE is a follow-up facility for the photometric science alerts triggered by Gaia's data analysis pipeline.

A video detailing the research, teaching and outreach work of PIRATE presented at the 5th Gaia Science Alerts Workshop (2014) in Warsaw Poland can be found here.

As a result of these diverse research interests I have a broad skill base covering photometry, spectroscopy and robotic telescope operation and maintenance as well as a broad knowledge base covering transiting exoplanets and the wide variety of objects flagged by the Gaia follow-up work including interacting binary stars and supernovae.


  • Small-aperture autonomous telescope optimisation for photometric monitoring, Jarvis, Busuttil, et al, in preparation
  • PIRATE Mark II and Gaia follow-up, Busuttil, Jarvis et al., in preparation
  • Gaia Alerts classified at the William Herschel Telescope, Dixon et al., The Astronomer's Telegram, #6593, 2014
  • PIRATE's on Board, (slides and video) Jarvis, J. F., Gaia Science Alerts Working Group (2014) ‘2014 Workshop Agenda' [online] available here [Accessed: 10th March 2015]
(earlier publications under maiden name)
  • Beryllium enhancement as evidence for accretion in a lithium-rich F dwarf, Ashwell et al., Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters, 2005, 363, 1, L81
  • The Li overabundance of J37: Diffusion or accretion?, Ashwell et al., Proceedings of the 13th Cambridge Workshop on Cool Stars, Stellar Systems and the Sun, held 5-9 July, 2004 in Hamburg, Germany. Edited by F. Favata, G.A.J. Hussain, and B. Battrick. ESA SP-560, European Space Agency, 2005., 403
  • Synthesis of the Beryllium 3131Å spectral region, Ashwell, Jeffries & Smalley, Memorie della Società Astronomica Italiana Supplement, 2005, 8, 206
  • The Li overabundance of J37: diffusion or accretion?, Ashwell et al., The A-Star Puzzle, held in Poprad, Slovakia, July 8-13, 2004. Edited by J. Zverko, J. Ziznovsky, S.J. Adelman, and W.W. Weiss, IAU Symposium, No. 224. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2004., 590


November 2015: Open University 'Going the Extra Mile Award' in recognition of significant contributions to PIRATE.

March 2014: Royal Astronomical Society Grant to upgrade the hard drives storing the science output of the PIRATE facility in preparation for my research.

October 2013 - September 2016: Daphne Jackson Research Fellowship for 3 years on a 0.5 FTE basis.

September 2005: Place at the UK GRAD School for personal and career development

September 2003 - August 2006: PPARC (now STFC) Funded PhD Studentship at Keele University

August 2002 - September 2002: Nuffield Foundation Research Bursary

Teaching interests

As part of the Open University's nationwide team I have previously presented S282 Astronomy & S382 Astrophysics at undergraduate level and currently present S104 Exploring Science to students around the world. This role requires me to present tutorials and seminars both face-to-face and via an on-line interactive learning environment, support students by e-mail, on forums and on the phone as well as providing feedback on their submitted work.

Impact and engagement

Since the start of my fellowship I have enhanced PIRATE’s impact to the general public by giving them the experience of operating a research class telescope. I have also promoted my research at the Royal Society Summer Exhibition and the Northern Ireland Science Festival explaining it’s impact to the public and inspiring the next generation into STEM based careers. 


Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society

Member of the Institute of Physics

Member of the British Association of Planetaria

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