bring this page
with you
Structure Department of Physics and Astronomy
Telephone 0498278223
Qualification Professore ordinario
University telephone book  Show

Proposals for thesis

The search and characterization of extrasolar planets is a new, fascinating research field in Astronomy.
Padova is the largest center in Italy for extrasolar planet Astronomy. We have ongoing an observational program (TASTE: http://groups.dfa.unipd.it/ESPG/taste.html) for the detection of planets using the TTV and TDV method Holman (2005 Science, 307, 1288). A huge number of nights at Asiago, Teide and La Palma, as well as CTIO and La Silla telescopes have been assigned for forthcoming months. This data set, and additional, similar observations can become the basis a Master or PhD thesis project.

In addition, we are developing a new satellite for the European Space Agency (CHEOPS: CHaracterizing EXOplanet Satellite). CHEOPS (http://cheops.unibe.ch/) is scheduled for launch in 2017. CHEOPS observations will need TTV/TDV analysis. CHEOPS will search for planet transits in known exoplanetary systems (also see http://www.oact.inaf.it/cheops-it/Home.html). A CHEOPS preparatory science Master and/or PhD thesis is offered.

A thesis on TTV/TDV use in CHEOPS is offered.

PLATO (PLAnetary Transit and Stellar Oscillation satellite) is a medium mission selected by the European Space Agency for a launch in 2024. PLATO (http://www.oact.inaf.it/plato/PPLC/Home.html) will search for exoplanets using the transit method. The exoplanet group of the University of Padova has the responsibility of the selection of the 1,000,000 targets for exoplanet search with PLATO. We are also involved in the PLATO preparatory science activities. A Master and/or PhD theses are offered for different preparatory works related to PLATO mission.


The recent discovery (by our group) of multiple evolutionary sequences in galactic globular clusters has seriously challenged the paradigm of star clusters hosting a simple stellar population, formed at the same epoch, from the same material. These new findings may have vast implications on star formation processes, and on population synthesis models used to interpret the light from galaxies at cosmological distances. This is a lively debated argument in the present astronomical literature.
G. Piotto has recently granted with a huge amount of Hubble Space Telescope orbits for a Treasury Large HST Program for the study of stellar populations in Galactic globular clusters. Master/PhD theses are offered in order to exploit this huge data base. The student will be inserted in an international collaboration (which the group in Padova is the leader of) and work on the analysis of data from: 1) already approved Hubble Space Telescope programs 2) HST archive data, and 3) approved ESO/VLT programs both with wide field imagers and high resolution spectrographs. The student will gain an expertise on high precision photometry and astrometry on HST data and/or on the exploitation of high resolution spectroscopic data. The possibility of formation stages at ESO, Space Telescope Science Institute, and other European, USA, and australian Universities is offered.

For additional information on us and our activities please look at http://groups.dfa.unipd.it/ESPG/index.html.

Curriculum Vitae
Born in 1962, Giampaolo Piotto had the Laureato degree in Astronomy in 1986 at the University of Padova, where he also got the PhD in Astronomy in 1990. He is Full Professor at the University of Padova, where he is teaching "Astronomy" for the first level degree in Astronomy and "Laboratory of Astrophysics" for the second level degree in Astronomy. Giampaolo Piotto is Director of the PhD School in Astronomy of the University of Padova since 2002.

He has been Associate Researcher at the Astronomy Department of the University of California, Berkeley, in 1987-88 and 1994-95. In 1990, he has been Associate Astronomer at the European Southern Observatory in Garching.

His main scientific interests concern the stellar populations in open and globular clusters, and the search for and characterization of exoplanets. These activities have produced more than 280 research papers in international refereed journals and numerous invited reviews, with more than 17,000 citations, and an H factor of 73. Giampaolo Piotto has been PI of numerous observational projects with the major international observing facilities (including Hubble Space Telescope and ESO/VLT). He has been PI of an HST Large Treasury project, coordinating an international research group with 25 collaborators (project still ongoing).

He has been member of various scientific committees for the development of astronomical instrumentations.

He has been national PI of two PRIN (Research Projects of National Interest), namely PRIN-1999 (Stellar Dynamics and Stellar Evolution in Globular Clusters: a Challenge for the New Astronomical Instruments) and PRIN-2007 (Multiple Stellar Populations in Globular Clusters: Census, Characterization, and Origin).
He has been national responsible for Italian Space Agency (ASI) of the project “Italian participation to the feasibility study of the ESA-PLATO mission”. Piotto has been responsible for the University of Padova of the European ERC-FP7 project ETAEARTH (2012-17) for the determination of the fraction of Earth size planets among exoplanets. He is local responsible of the ASI project (2015-18) “Italian participation to the PLATO project” and of the ASI project (2015-18) “Italian participation to the CHEOPS project”.
Piotto is member of the PLATO Science Working Team of the European Space Agency (ESA). PLATO is a satellite for the search of exoplanets adopted within the Cosmic Vision program, for a launch in 2026. He is member of the Board of the PLATO Consortium. Piotto is responsible of the PLATO input catalog, the catalog of PLATO targets for the planet search.
Piotto is also member of the Board of the CHEOPS Consortium and of the CHEOPS Science Team. CHEOPS is an ESA satellite for characterization of exoplanets adopted for a launch in 2019.

Since 2011 Giampaolo Piotto is member of the Gurantee Time Observations (GTO) Science Team of HARPS-N, an instrument for the spectroscopic search and characterization of exoplanets, mounted on the Italian National Telescope (TNG) at Canary Islands, and member of the Board and of the Science Team of the Italian collaboration “Global Architecture of exoplanetary Systems (GAPS)”.

In 2012-14 Giampaolo Piotto has been ESA representative in the Hubble Space Telescope User Committee.

Giampaolo Piotto acted as referee for many peer review journals. He has been member of numerous committees for the assignment of telescope time, and referee for many international research funding agencies.

Lecturer's Curriculum (PDF): AB50C3103BDB28D666AF17F791059EFD.pdf

Research areas
Ricerca e caratterizzazione di pianeti extrasolari
Popolazioni stellari in ammassi di stelle
Per ulteriori informazioni si consulti: http://groups.dfa.unipd.it/ESPG/index.html

Search for and characterization of exoplanets.
Stellar populations in star clusters.
For further information: http://groups.dfa.unipd.it/ESPG/index.html

The full list of refereed papers is available through the SAO/NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS) at the following link:


List of taught course units in A.Y. 2018/19
Degree course code Degree course track Course unit code Course unit name Credits Year Period Teacher in charge
SC1160 000ZZ SCM0014351 ASTRONOMY 1 7 2nd Year First semester GIAMPAOLO PIOTTO
SC1173 001PD SC04120546 LABORATORY OF ASTROPHYSICS 2 6 2nd Year First semester GIAMPAOLO PIOTTO