Lalitha Sairam

Exoplanets | Stellar Activity | Circumbinary planets | Star-planet interaction | Multi-wavelength observer

Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge

About mE

Have you ever wondered if there are other worlds out there? As an Astrophysicist at the University of Cambridge, I am dedicated to finding the answer. My passion lies in exoplanetary science – the search for planets orbiting distant stars.

My journey began with exploring how stars influence the fate of their orbiting planets. This fascination led me to study stellar flares using X-ray astronomy. Throughout my career, I’ve become adept at finding the faint “signal” of an exoplanet amidst the “noise” of stellar activity.

Stellar activity is a major hurdle in exoplanetary science, making it difficult to detect and characterise the atmospheres of distant worlds. To address this challenge, I am developing STACCATO, a robust model that forecasts stellar activity and allows for more efficient exoplanet observations. This paves the way for future studies aimed at characterising these intriguing exoplanets.

After successfully discovering planets around single stars, I am now tackling the complexities of binary star systems. I have developed methods for high-precision radial velocity measurements, with the goal of detecting planets like Tatooine from Star Wars – those that orbit two suns.

I specialise in exoplanetary science, but my research also delves into X-ray astronomy, stellar coronae, and magnetic activity. I am a continuous learner, eager to build on my academic foundation and push the boundaries of exoplanet discovery.

In my free time, I unwind with photography, running, and classical dance.

ReseArch Interests

Stellar activity

Stellar activity provides with some interesting puzzles. There are several aspects about a star and stellar activity that I have been researching on such as the energy propagation through different layers of the stellar atmosphere, activity cycles, interaction between stars and orbiting planets, etc.

EXoplanets around stars

The ever-growing field of exoplanet has thrown a lot of surprises with respect to both the planets and the host stars. M dwarfs are cool petite stars which are most common stars found in the solar neighbourhood.   I have been working extensively on M dwarfs with an aim to discover and characterise Earth-like planets in their habitable zone.


Planets orbiting around both the stars in a are called circumbinary planets. Nearly half the stars in our neighbourhood are in binary or multiple system. Making them the most common planet hosting stars/systems. Yet there are only 10-15 circumbinary planets discovered. I am currently, exploring new means to extract the radial velocities from the spectra of these binary stars to increase the detection of the circumbinary planets.

ongoing projects


Coming soon !!!

planets around DOuble-line binary stars

Coming soon !!!

Curriculum Vitae

  • 2023 Research Associate, Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge, UK
  • 2020-2023 Postdoctoral fellow, University of Birmingham, UK
  • 2018-2020 Postdoctoral researcher, University of Goettingen, Germany
  • 2015-2018 Inspire Faculty Fellow, Indian Institute of Astrophysics, India
  • 2013-2015 Postdoctoral fellow, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, India
  • 2013 –  PhD, Hamburg University, Germany
  • 2008 – MSc, Bangalore University, India


ORCID 0000-0001-8102-3303

Few papers from various research projects I am involved.


Links to interviews on "How we fount planet with two suns"

BBC Sky at Night Magazine; CBC; Science Daily; UoB press release


Although I am a full time astronomer, I am also a part-time photographer

Contact me

Institute of Astronomy, 

University of Cambridge 

United Kingdom