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Prof Sasha Hinkley

Associate Professor


Telephone: 01392 725522

Extension: (Streatham) 5522

Visit personal website »

Overview: As an Associate Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Exeter, I use leading ground- and space-based observatories with the goal of obtaining direct images and spectroscopy of extrasolar planetary systems.  Specifically, during my PhD training, and while a NASA Sagan and an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow at the California Institute of Technology, I was responsible for designing, building, and commissioning an infrared imaging spectrometer for Palomar Observatory dedicated for this task.  Since my arrival at Exeter, I have become an active user of ESO facilities, while continuing to mine through my large high-contrast survey for planets I carried out at the W.M.~Keck Observatory while at Caltech.  Since late 2015, I have been leading, organising, and managing a team of 120 international astronomers to be among the first users of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), and I am the Principal Investigator for our approved 54-hour Early Release Science program. You can find out more at my personal webpage at:    



  1. My first PhD student Elisabeth Matthews, now a postdoc at MIT, led our survey for planets around young stars with evidence for multiple belts of circumstellar debris using SPHERE at the VLT.  Elisabeth's work uncovered a spectacular image of a nearly edge-on disk around the star HD 129590 (see paper below). 
  2. My next PhD student Aarynn Carter, now a postdoc at UC Santa Cruz, made some of the first predictions about the sensitivity to Saturn and Neptune-analogues at wide orbital separations. 


Some Selected Publications: 

  1. Hinkley et al. 2021. "Discovery of an Edge-on Debris Disk around BD+45 598: A Newly Identified Member of the Beta Pictoris Moving Group"
  2. Hinkley et al. 2015. "Discovery of Seven Companions to Intermediate-Mass Stars with Extreme Mass Ratios in the Scorpius-Centaurus Association"
  3. Hinkley et al. 2015. "Early Results from VLT SPHERE: Long-slit Spectroscopy of 2MASS0122-2439B, a Young Companion Near the Deuterium Burning Limit."
  4. Matthews et al. 2017. "The First Scattered-light Image of the Debris Disk around the Sco-Cen Target HD129590."
  5. Hinkley et al., 2011. "A New High Contrast Imaging Program at Palomar Observatory."