Alexander Mustill

ResearcherKnown as name: Alex Mustill

Research areas and keywords

UKÄ subject classification

  • Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology


  • Exoplanets, Theoretical astrophysics


I am a Senior Research Fellow (Forskare) at the Department of Astronomy and Theoretical Physics at Lund University, Sweden. My work centres on understanding the orbital dynamics of exoplanets. My main collaborators here in the theoretical astrophysics group are Melvyn B. Davies, Anders Johansen, and Ross Church.

I completed my Ph.D. at the Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge, where I studied the interactions between planets and debris discs with Mark Wyatt. I then moved to the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid for my postdoctoral work on the effects of stellar evolution on planetary systems with Eva Villaver, and thence to Lund at the start of 2014, where I continue to study many aspects of exoplanet dynamics.

I use computer simulations and mathematical analysis to understand how planets' orbits change with time, and work out the implications for our knowledge of how planets form. My specific areas of interest are:

  • How does stellar evolution (stars becoming large red giants and then dead white dwarfs) affect a planetary system?
  • What sets planetary system multiplicity? Why are some planets single but others are gregarious with many companions?
  • How do planets interact with extra-Solar comets and asteroids (the building blocks of, and debris from, planet formation)?
  • How did planets, asteroids and comets form and attain their current orbits in our own Solar System?

To address these questions, I work both with other theorists to understand general physical processes, and with observers to understand and interpret known planetary systems. In particular, I am active in Working Groups/Work Packages to prepare for the European Space Agency's upcoming CHEOPS and PLATO space missions, both aimed at detecting and characterising transiting exoplanets.

You can read more about my research on my website.


I was interviewed for Lund University's Youtube channel about my work on Planet 9. Did the Sun steal it from another star?


I give lectures for the Master's course Dynamical Astronomy (ASTM13) and the PhD course Dynamics of Planetary Systems (NAAS001). I am also the deputy coördinator for the Master's Programme in Astrophysics at Lund Observatory.

Recent research outputs

C. Bergmann, M. I. Jones, J. Zhao, A. J. Mustill, R. Brahm, P. Torres, R. A. Wittenmyer, F. Gunn, K. R. Pollard, A. Zapata, L. Vanzi & Songhu Wang, 2021 Apr 22, In: Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia. e019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

R. F. Maldonado, E. Villaver, A. J. Mustill, M. Chávez & E. Bertone, 2021, In: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters. 501, 1, p. L43-L48

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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