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Dr Jo Eberhardt

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.

Externally funded projects

[TRANSFER IN] Exoplanets in 3D: Interpreting 3D planets using 1D spectra
RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Lead01 Oct 202030 Sep 2025STFC Science & Technology Facilities Council

Satellite images of the planets in our Solar System reveal dynamic, changing worlds. Jupiter's poles are now known to be unexpectedly blue, contrasting with the equator, and the great red spot is gradually shrinking. Recently, we have also started to find out more about planets orbiting other stars - exoplanets. Studying exoplanets is exciting because it provides context for the evolution of Solar System planets, but also involves several challenges. Only rarely can we directly observe an exoplanet, because stars are so much larger and brighter. Instead, we measure the dip in the amount of light coming from the parent star when the planet passes in front. Gases and cloud particles absorb and scatter particular colours - or wavelengths - of light, so by measuring precisely the amount of light blocked by the planet at each wavelength, we can identify the unique fingerprints of substances in the planet's atmosphere - all without seeing the planet! However, there's a catch: we only get a single measurement averaged over the whole of the planet's visible atmosphere, which is not uniform and changes with time. To truly compare exoplanets with Solar System worlds, we need to understand what this average measurement actually represents. I aim to investigate, using computational models of light passing through an atmosphere, how a 3D, time-varying, cloudy exoplanet atmosphere can best be studied using these measurements. I will compare models with data from the new James Webb Space Telescope, due to be launched in 2021, which is set to provide the most detailed and precise observations of exoplanets yet.


Abundance measurements of H2O and carbon-bearing species in the atmosphere of WASP-127b confirm its super-solar metallicity (2020-10-13)
Spake, Jessica J.; Sing, David K.; Wakeford, Hannah R.; Nikolov, Nikolay; Mikal-Evans, Thomas; Deming, Drake; Barstow, Joanna K.; Anderson, David R.; Carter, Aarynn L.; Gillon, Michael; Goyal, Jayesh M.; Hebrard, Guillaume; Hellier, Coel; Kataria, Tiffany; Lam, Kristine W. F.; Triaud, A .H. M. J. and Wheatley, Peter J.
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Article staa3116 ((Early Access))

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)

Outstanding Challenges of Exoplanet Atmospheric Retrievals (2020-08)
Barstow, Joanna K. and Heng, Kevin
Space Science Reviews, 216, Article 82(5)

Confirmation of water emission in the dayside spectrum of the ultrahot Jupiter WASP-121b (2020-08)
Spake, Jessica J.; Barstow, Joanna K.; Lewis, Nikole K.; Mayne, Nathan J.; Wakeford, Hannah R.; Kataria, Tiffany; Sing, David K. and Mikal-Evans, Thomas
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 496(2) (pp. 1638-1644)

The Hubble Space Telescope PanCET Program: An Optical to Infrared Transmission Spectrum of HAT-P-32Ab (2020-07)
Alam, Munazza K.; López-Morales, Mercedes; Nikolov, Nikolay; Sing, David K.; Henry, Gregory W.; Baxter, Claire; Désert, Jean-Michel; Barstow, Joanna K.; Mikal-Evans, Thomas; Bourrier, Vincent; Lavvas, Panayotis; Wakeford, Hannah R.; Williamson, Michael H.; Sanz-Forcada, Jorge; Buchhave, Lars A.; Cohen, Ofer and Muñoz, Antonio García
The Astronomical Journal, 160, Article 51(1)

Detection of Na, K, and H2O in the hazy atmosphere of WASP-6b (2020-06)
Wilson, Paul A.; Gibson, Neale P.; García Muñoz, Antonio; Barstow, Joanna K.; Lavvas, Panayotis; Smalley, Barry; López-Morales, Mercedes; Morrell, Sam; Henry, Gregory W.; Wakeford, Hannah R.; Mikal-Evans, Thomas; Goyal, Jayesh M.; Alam, Munazza K.; Sing, David K.; Nikolov, Nikolay and Carter, Aarynn L.
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 494(4) (pp. 5449-5472)

A comparison of exoplanet spectroscopic retrieval tools (2020-04)
Waldmann, Ingo P; Rocchetto, Marco; Line, Michael R; Garland, Ryan; Changeat, Quentin and Barstow, Joanna K
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 493(4) (pp. 4884-4909)

2.5D retrieval of atmospheric properties from exoplanet phase curves: application to WASP-43b observations (2020-03)
Irwin, Patrick G. J.; Parmentier, Vivien; Taylor, Jake; Barstow, Jo; Aigrain, Suzanne; Lee, Graham K. H. and Garland, Ryan
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 493(1) (pp. 106-125)

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)

Into the UV: The Atmosphere of the Hot Jupiter HAT-P-41b Revealed (2020)
Lewis, N. K.; Wakeford, H. R.; MacDonald, R. J.; Goyal, J. M.; Sing, D. K.; Barstow, J.; Powell, D.; Kataria, T.; Mishra, I.; Marley, M. S.; Batalha, N. E.; Moses, J. I.; Gao, P.; Wilson, T. J.; Chubb, K. L.; Mikal-Evans, T.; Nikolov, N.; Pirzkal, N.; Spake, J. J.; Stevenson, K. B.; Valenti, J. and Zhang, X.
Astrophysical Journal Letters, 902, Article L19(1)

A consistent retrieval analysis of 10 hot Jupiters observed in transmission (2016)
Barstow, J. K.; Aigrain, S.; Irwin, P. G. J. and Sing, D. K.
The Astrophysical Journal, 834(1) (p 50)

Habitable worlds with JWST: transit spectroscopy of the TRAPPIST-1 system? (2016)
Barstow, J. K. and Irwin, P. G. J.
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters, 461(1) (L92-L96)

Variability in the atmosphere of the hot giant planet HAT-P-7 b (2016)
Armstrong, D. J.; de Mooij, E.; Barstow, J.; Osborn, H. P.; Blake, J. and Saniee, N. Fereshteh
Nature Astronomy, 1, Article 4

Transit spectroscopy with James Webb Space Telescope: systematics, starspots and stitching (2015)
Barstow, J. K.; Aigrain, S.; Irwin, P. G. J.; Kendrew, S. and Fletcher, L. N.
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 448(3) (pp. 2546-2561)

Clouds on the hot Jupiter HD189733b: constraints from the reflection spectrum (2014)
Barstow, J. K.; Aigrain, S.; Irwin, P. G. J.; Hackler, T.; Fletcher, L. N.; Lee, J. M. and Gibson, N. P.
The Astrophysical Journal, 786(2) (p 154)