About me:

I am an astronomer and science communicator, since September 2020 I have been a PhD candidate as part of the  IMPRS program at  ESO in Munich, Germany and  Leiden University in the Netherlands. Here I work alongside Prof.  Ewine van Dishoeck and Dr.  Anna Miotello. My research centers on the chemical reservoir of protoplanetary disks, where by combining high sensitivity ALMA observations with thermochemical models I aim to understand ongoing physical processes during the early stages of planet formation.

Previously I obtained my Bachelor and Master degree at Universidad de Chile. During my Master research I worked with Prof. Laura Pérez and Prof. Myriam Benisty. My thesis focused on spiral structures in protoplanetary disks, particularly around the star Elias 2-27 (see the press release of that work  here).

In parallel to my scientific work I am an active science communicator with over 1 million followers on social media platforms ( @terepaneque). I have  three published books of astronomy for teenagers and collaborate with UNICEF Chile to promote science and education for children.

I study the 3D distribution and physical conditions of molecules in protoplanetary disks, using models and ALMA observations

Molecular emission strongly depends on temperature and density conditions. By spatially locating various tracers we can construct an empirical map of how conditions vary across a system.

Through high sensitivity ALMA observations of gas in moderately-inclined disks, we can directly trace the emission surfaces for a given molecule. Doing this with various lines allows us to obtain a map of the azimuthal, radial and vertical physical chemical disk properties.  

I am passionate about learning and sharing, which is why I do both scientific research and outreach.

In 2019, while completing my Master, I began combining my research on planet formation with outreach activities focusing on schools, news outlets and social media. Currently, as my PhD is based in Europe, but most of my outreach is focused in Latin America, I divide my time so I can do science “during the day” and then record videos, do virtual talks or grant interviews “during the night”. (Don’t worry, I always get enough sleep!)

My proudest achievement:

I have three published astronomy novels, topsellers in Chile 

“El Universo Según Carlota” series is currently only available in Spanish, but I hope to translate them soon