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Sarah Rugheimer

Sarah Rugheimer

Picture of Sarah Rugheimer
Sarah Rugheimer
Associate Professor, Research Stream


Physics and Astronomy
Allan I. Carswell Chair for the Public Understanding of Astronomy

Eligible to Supervise

Physics and Astronomy Graduate Program
Full Member


Office Location PSE 334
Phone Number (416) 736-2100 ext 33773

Research Interests

I research exoplanets, biosignatures, and habitability. My work is theoretical and computational in nature. I am interested in anything related to the field of astrobiology: the study of origin of life on Earth and the pursuit of detecting life on other planets or moons in the Universe. In the last decade we have found several dozen habitable planets orbiting other stars. In the next two decades, first with James Webb Space Telescope and large ground-based observatories and later with follow-up missions like the proposed LUVOIR and LIFE concepts, we will be able to detect the atmospheres of terrestrial extrasolar planets in the habitable zone. These questions of our origins and the distribution of life in the Universe are the main driving inspiration for my day-to-day work.

I research techniques to remotely detect life in the atmospheres of extrasolar planets. I am particularly interested in the planet-star connection and in how stellar activity will influence the photochemistry and spectral features in terrestrial planet atmospheres. I use mostly 1D and some 3D models to explore different physical regimes for these new habitable exoplanets with a focus on how that will influence the habitability and biosignatures on those planets.

Research Areas

Astronomy and Astrophysics, Planetary Physics

Research Types