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Dr Jo Barstow

A woman, smiling, standing in front of an image of the Pillars of Creation

Profile summary

Professional biography

I hold an Ernest Rutherford Fellowship from the Science and Technology Facilities Council, to investigate how 3D structure of exoplanet atmospheres can be inferred from observations obtained during transit and eclipse. I am also a Science Working Group lead for the European Space Agency Ariel mission ( I previously held a Royal Astronomical Society Research Fellowship at University College London, prior to which I was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Oxford. I completed my DPhil at the University of Oxford in 2011.

I am currently a member of the RAS200 steering committee, for the Royal Astronomical Society, and previously served on the Council from 2015 - 2016. I am a mentor for the Supernova Foundation, which aims to support junior women starting their careers in physics, especially those from developing countries.

Research interests

My research area is planetary atmosphere modelling, with a current focus on extrasolar planets. I use spectral inversion techniques to infer atmospheric temperature structure and the presence of gases and aerosols from spectra obtained during exoplanet transit and eclipse. My particular interest is modelling and observation of clouds and hazes on exoplanets. Recent work includes a comparison of techniques for modelling cloudy hot Jupiters.

Teaching interests

My current teaching interests include contributing to the development of new astronomy module S384, and assisting with the delivery of its predecessor S382.


Unveiling cloudy exoplanets: the influence of cloud model choices on retrieval solutions (2020-10)
Barstow, Joanna K.
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 497(4) (pp. 4183-4195)

Ground-Based Transmission Spectroscopy with FORS2: A featureless optical transmission spectrum and detection of H2O for the ultra-hot Jupiter WASP-103b (2020)
Wilson, Jamie; Gibson, Neale P; Nikolov, Nikolay; Constantinou, Savvas; Madhusudhan, Nikku; Goyal, Jayesh; Barstow, Joanna K; Carter, Aarynn L; de Mooij, Ernst J W; Drummond, Benjamin; Mikal-Evans, Thomas; Helling, Christiane; Mayne, Nathan J and Sing, David K
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 497(4) (pp. 5155-5170)