Matthew Kenworthy

Matthew KenworthyMatthew Kenworthy in 2019. Associate Professor at Leiden Observatory

My research covers the search and characterisation of extrasolar planets by direct imaging, and developing optical instrumentation to help find them. In the past few years I have been searching for circumplanetary disks and rings by looking for the shadows they cast as they pass between us and their parent stars.

If you're after a paper I am an author on, you can find it on my publications page. Here is my Curriculum Vitae (July 2019) along with a short biography and photos.


In order of responsiveness:

I tweet about astronomy and my work regularly, I put computer code produced by my group on GitHub, and I have an ORCID iDYes, that's the correct capitalization..

ADS page of all academic publications and ADS search of refereed publications.

Directly imaged exoplanet around TYC 8998

We discovered a 14 Jupiter mass companion to the solar mass star TYC 8998, sitting about 230au away from its parent star. Alex Bohn's paper shows the companion moving through space with the star, and its thermal emission is consistent with computer models.

The Young Suns Exoplanet Survey: Detection of a wide-orbit planetary-mass companion to a solar-type Sco-Cen member by Bohn et al. (2020) MNRAS 492, 431.

Image of TYC 8998b. The 14 Jupiter mass companion is 229 au from its parent star.TYC 8998 with the position of the companion TYC 8998b indicated

Beta Pictoris

A transiting exocomet detected in broadband light by TESS in the Beta Pictoris system (2019) A&A 625, L13. We model a dip in the light curve seen towards the young star Beta Pictoris as being caused by a cometary tail, confirming a 20 year old prediction.

Light curve of Beta Pictoris as seen by TESS. The black vertical bars show the photometric error bar per photometric point. The red line is a model of an exocomet fit to the TESS data.Data from TESS with exocomet model overplotted

The bRing Project

Looking at one star continuously for over one year

In 2017 and the start of 2018, the circumplanetary environment of the gast giant exoplanet Beta Pictoris b crossed in front of the bright young star Beta Pictoris, a naked eye 4th magnitude star in the Southern skies. We wanted to see if any circumplanetary material crossed in front of the star over this event lasting 300 days, and so I led the bRing project.

The Beta Pictoris b ring (bRing) project are two small robotic observatories in South Africa and Australia, each one consists of two telephoto lenses with support computers so that we can continuously monitor the path of Beta Pictoris across the Southern skies. The design builds on the heritage gained in Leiden from the MASCARA all sky survey camera units. To get longitudinal coverage, two separate bRing cameras were built (one by Leiden Observatory for South Africa and one by University of Rochester for Australia) and the data is combined with MASCARA South to provide redundant photometric coverage. The photometric precision is 0.5% with 5 minutes of data.


Matthew Kenworthy teaching at Leiden Observatory in 2015Matthew Kenworthy teaching in 2015.I enjoy teaching, especially when I can break down a difficult topic into simpler parts and explain how it all fits back together as a whole. Relating abstract concepts to more everyday experiences means that I typically use props to convey concepts, such as tone generators to demonstrate heterodyne radio receivers, and wooden marble games to explain how digital cameras work.

My teaching led to a student nomination for a Faculty Award for Education in the Science Faculty in Leiden in 2014.

Talks and Outreach

Matthew Kenworthy talking at Pint of Science 2019 in UtrechtMatthew Kenworthy talking at Pint of Science in Utrecht, May 2019 Photo by Raquel Ledo.I enjoy giving talks about astronomy to all age groups, and if you're interested in me giving a talk to your school, astronomy club or an outreach event such as Astronomy on Tap or Pint of Science, please contact me!

My talk schedule for 2019 is as follows:

Previous years have included notable talks at the inaugural Astronomy on Tap in Leiden (March 2017), Science Cafe Wageningen (Oct 2017), Cuba City Elementary, Middle and High Schools (in 2013, 2016 and finally six grades and the Lego Robot Club in 2018), and several other schools in Britain and the US. Two talks at the Ewell Astronomical Society, which I went to as a young astronomer, astronomy clubs in Arizona, and giving star parties at the Double Check Ranch in Arizona and for professional companies.

Unsolicited Advice


This page was inspired by Edward Tufte's design principles and books. Tufte CSS was created by Dave Liepmann. All mistakes are my own. If you do decide to use any part of these web pages in presentations, please include a link to this page or at the very minimum, add "M. Kenworthy" somewhere visible.

Last updated around the start of July 2019.