Tom Stallard

Associate Professor in Planetary Astronomy

Postgraduate Senior Tutor
BA (Hons), PhD (UCL)

Tel: 0116 252 3589


Office: Physics & Astronomy, F59

Tom Stallard standing in dome of NASA's IRTF


Tom Stallard completed a BSc in Planetary Sciences from UCL in 1997 and completed a PhD in Planetary Astronomy working under the supervision of Prof. Steve Miller at UCL in 2001, studying the aurora of Jupiter using ground-based telescopes.  He remained at UCL as a post-doctoral researcher until 2007, expanding his ground-based investigations to include Saturn and Uranus. In 2007, he took an RCUK Fellow position at the University of Leicester, becoming a lecturer here on the completion of this fellowship in 2012.

Research interests

Research interests are the investigation of the aurora and upper atmospheres of the Giant Planets using infrared observations from both ground-based telescopes and orbiting satellite instrumentation.  Using a combination of imaging and spectral analysis, it is possible to measure and understand the currents that drive the formation of aurorae, and how these currents flow through the ionosphere.  It is also possible to measure how the aurora interacts with the surrounding neutral atmosphere, and by measuring the physical parameters associated with this interaction, gain an understanding of the energy distribution throughout the thermospheres of these planets.


My teaching duties in the 2016-2017 year are as follows:

I am the Postgraduate Senior Tutor for the Physics and Astronomy Department.

I teach the Heat and Energy foundation year course, as well as PA 2603: Jovian planets and moons (with Dr J. D. Nichols) within the Department of Physics and Astronomy:

I also teach the following for the Natural Sciences degree:

  • Module coordinator for the 'Habitable Worlds' module
  • Auroral Expert for the 'Near Science' module

Science Communication

I was awarded the honorary title of 'Hōkū Kolea' by the Mauna Kea Observatories, Hawaii, for demonstrating outstanding commitment to the volunteer program and nightly stargazing programs at the Visitor Information Station.

I have pioneered live broadcasts from the Keck and IRTF telescopes, broadcast using an internet stream, allowing members of the public to interact with astronomers actively doing research.

I have also consulted with the BBC on astronomy programming on a number of occasions.

Selected Publications

My group has published four Nature papers and a Royal Society paper as leading authors in the past decade:

Stallard, Tom, Miller, Steve, Lystrup, Makenzie, Achilleos, Nicholas, Bunce, Emma J., Arridge, Christopher S., Dougherty, Michele K., Cowley, Stan W. H., Badman, Sarah V., Talboys, Dean L., Brown, Robert H., Baines, Kevin H., Buratti, Bonnie J., Clark, Roger N., Sotin, Christophe, Nicholson, Phil D., Drossart, Pierre. Complex structure within Saturn's infrared aurora. Nature 456, 214-217, DOI: 10.1038/nature07440 (2008)

Stallard, Tom, Miller, Steve, Melin, Henrik, Lystrup, Makenzie, Cowley, Stan W. H., Bunce, Emma J., Achilleos, Nicholas, Dougherty, Michele. Jovian-like aurorae on Saturn. Nature 453, 1083-1085, DOI: 10.1038/nature07077 (2008)

O'Donoghue, J.; Stallard, T. S.; Melin, H.; Jones, G. H.; Cowley, S. W. H.; Miller, S.; Baines, K. H.; Blake, J. S. D. The domination of Saturn's low-latitude ionosphere by ring 'rain'. Nature 496, 193-195. doi:10.1038/nature12049 (2013)

O’Donoghue, j., Moore, L., Stallard, T.S. and Melin, T. S. Heating of Jupiter’s upper atmosphere above the Great Red Spot. Nature 536, 190–192, doi:10.1038/nature18940 (2016)

Stallard, Tom S., Henrik Melin, Steve Miller, James O’Donoghue, Stan W.H. Cowley, Sarah V. Badman, Alberto Adriani, Robert H. Brown, Kevin H. Baines. Temperature changes and energy inputs in Giant Planet atmospheres: what we are learning from H3+. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A, Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A 370, 5213-5224, doi: 10.1098/rsta.2012.0028 (2012)

Full Publication List

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Contact Details

Tel.: +44 (0)116 252 3506
Fax: +44 (0)116 252 2770

Department of Physics & Astronomy,
University of Leicester,
University Road,
Leicester, LE1 7RH,
United Kingdom.


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