Welcome to Joe Llama's Homepage

I am an astronomer at the University of St Andrews, Scotland. My research focuses on understanding magnetic fields of both stars and extrasolar planets (planets that orbit stars other than the Sun). I began my academic career at the University of St Andrews where I completed an Undergraduate degree in Mathematics and Theoretical Physics before then embarking on a PhD in Astronomy under the supervison of Professor Moira Jardine. In June 2014 I will be moving to Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona to work with Dr Evgenya Shkolnik as a postdoctoral researcher. For more information about my research see below.

My non-academic life began in Pembrokeshire, South Wales. I am a keen photographer and traveller. Some of the photos I have accumulated during my travels can be seen below.

My Science

My research is broadly focused on stars and extrasolar planets. In particular I am interested in the interaction between stars and very close in planets. For more information on my research see the links below.

A list of my publications can be found through NASA ADS and a copy of my CV can be found by clicking here.

We have released a number of press releases about detecting magnetic fields around extrasolar planets. Click here to check them out!

Transiting Extrasolar Planets

This is an image of the Sun as seen from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. This image was taken on June 5th 2013 when Venus passed between our vantage point on Earth and the Sun. This is known as a transit event. When a planet transits, it blocks star light. Astronomers are therefore able to monitor the light being emitted from stars and search for periodic dips caused by exoplanets.

Exoplanetary Magnetic Fields

When the Solar wind interacts with Earth's magnetic shield, a bow shock is formed. By searching for such shocks around extrasolar planets it may be possible to detect magnetic fields around other planets.

Stellar Magnetism

This is an image of a star obtained through Zeeman Doppler Imaging, a technique that allows us to recover the large scale magnetic field of bright stars. The field lines are the result of extrapolating the magnetic field above the surface of the star to investigate the topology of the stellar corona and wind. The magnetic field on the Sun is known to reverse every eleven years, I am interested in whether other stars exhibit such cycles.


About Me

My non-academic life began in Tenby, South Pembrokeshire. Growing up near the coast meant that I have spent a considerable amount of time surrounded by beautiful landscapes, which I have tried my best to photograph. The picture above is of The Green Bridge of Wales and can be found on the South Pembrokeshire coast. I am also an aurora hunter and have taken many trips to Tromsø in Norway to chase the Northern Lights. Below are a selection of my photos from my Flickr account.