Academic qualifications

Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Heidelberg, Germany
    Ph.D., Astronomy (2016 - 2020)

Argelander Institute for Astronomy, University of Bonn, Germany
    M.Sc., Astrophysics (2013 - 2015)

Fergusson College, University of Pune, India
    B.Sc., Physics (2009 - 2012)


Linking star and disk formation

The main aim of my current and future work is to unravel the role of various physical mechanisms using a robust, self-consistent numerical treatment in order to investigate the multi-scale transition of a prestellar core to a star-disk system harboring planet(s). I explore the combined effects of gas and dust dynamics during the early stages of star and protostellar disk formation with radiation magneto-hydrodynamic simulations.

Schematic showing the chain of events and the key dynamical processes that lead to the formation of stars, disks, and planets.

Birth of stars

My Ph.D. thesis focused on studying how stars are born via the gravitational collapse of dense cores in magnetized molecular clouds. I performed radiation hydrodynamic simulations using the PLUTO code as a tool, in order to understand the complex physical processes involved in the very early stages of star formation. A brief overview of my work can be found in this poster and a detailed thesis can be accessed here. This work was done at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA) with my Ph.D. advisors Prof. Thomas Henning, Dr. Rolf Kuiper, and Dr. Christian Fendt. I was a member of the International Max Planck Research School for Astronomy and Cosmic Physics at the University of Heidelberg (IMPRS-HD).

The video illustrates the collapse of a 1 M molecular cloud core as it transitions through the first and second collapse stages, which lead to the birth of a star.

Fly-by effects

The aim of my Master thesis was to study the fate of protoplanetary disks due to the influence of parabolic star-disk encounters for both coplanar as well as inclined prograde and retrograde cases. For different mass ratios between the perturber and the central star, the effects of varying periastron distances on the final disk size were considered and compared for the different encounter scenarios. These effects can be viewed on our interactive online database. We also applied this study to the outer solar system. A short summary of my work can be seen in this poster and a detailed thesis can be accessed here. This work was done at the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy (MPIfR) under the supervision of Prof. Susanne Pfalzner.

The video illustrates an encounter scenario where the particles marked in blue are those that remain bound to the host star and the particles in red become unbound due to the encounter. The above example is for a star-disk encounter at 100 au for an initial 100 au disk. The host and the perturbing star both have mass of 1 M.

Exploring the unknown worlds

As a part of my bachelor thesis, we observed two extrasolar planets, namely WASP-12 b & HAT-P-7 b, using the transit method. The project involved using the software package IRAF to perform transit detections using defocused photometry techniques and introduced imaging as a probing technique to study these distant planets. The transit data was obtained using the Himalayan Chandra Telescope (HCT), Hanle, Ladakh, India. A detailed thesis can be accessed here. This work was done at the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore, India under the guidance of Dr. Firoza Sutaria.

Transit light curve of WASP-12. The dip in the light curve indicates the presence of a transiting exoplanet (WASP-12 b).


• Lin CL. et al. (including Bhandare A.), "EDEN: Flare Activity of the Nearby Exoplanet-hosting M Dwarf Wolf 359 Based on K2 and EDEN Light Curves", 2021, The Astronomical Journal, 162, 11.

• Pfalzner S., Aizpuru Vargas L., Bhandare A., and Veras D., "Significant interstellar object production by close stellar flybys", 2021, A&A, 651, A38.

• Rosen A. L., Offner S. S. R., Sadavoy S. I., Bhandare A., Vázquez-Semadeni E., and Ginsburg A., "Zooming in on Individual Star Formation: Low- and High-mass Stars", 2020, Space Science Reviews, 216, 62.

Bhandare A., Kuiper R., Henning Th., Fendt C., Flock M., and Marleau G-D., "Birth of convective low-mass to high-mass second Larson cores", 2020, A&A, 638, A86.

• Zhao B. et al. (including Bhandare A.), "Formation and Evolution of Disks Around Young Stellar Objects", 2020, Space Science Reviews, 216, 43.

• Gibbs A. et al. (including Bhandare A.), "EDEN: Sensitivity Analysis and Transiting Planet Detection Limits for Nearby Late Red Dwarfs", 2020, The Astronomical Journal, 159, 169.

Bhandare A. and Pfalzner S., "DESTINY: Database for the effects of stellar encounters on disks and planetary systems", 2019, Computational Astrophysics and Cosmology, 6: 3.

The ‘Oumuamua ISSI team , "Natural History of Oumuamua", 2019, Nature Astronomy, 3, 594-602.

Bhandare A., Kuiper R., Henning Th., Fendt C., Marleau G-D., and Kölligan A., "First core properties: From low- to high-mass star formation", 2018, A&A, 618, A95.

• Pfalzner S., Bhandare A., Vincke K., and Lacerda P., "Outer solar system possibly shaped by a stellar fly-by", 2018, ApJ, 863, 45.

• Pfalzner S., Bhandare A. and Vincke K., "Did a stellar fly-by shape the planetary system around Pr 0211 in the cluster
M 44?",
2017, A&A, 610, A33.

Bhandare A., Breslau A. and Pfalzner S., "Effects of inclined star-disk encounter on protoplanetary disk size", 2016, A&A, 594, A53.

• Pfalzner S. et al. (including Bhandare A.), "Observational constraints on star cluster formation theory. I. The mass-radius relation", 2016, A&A, 586, A68.

Education and Public Outreach

  IAU Office of Astronomy for Education (OAE)
Since July 2021, I have been engaged with education and public outreach activities at the OAE. My initial tasks involved compiling session summaries for the IAU Offices Family Meeting. More recently, I co-organized the 3rd Shaw-IAU workshop on Astronomy for Education and compiled and edited its proceedings.

  The Supernova Foundation
Since May 2021, I am a mentor at the Supernova Foundation, which aims to create a supportive community for women and gender minorities in STEM. It has been a pleasure to share experiences and exchange ideas with two aspiring Astrophysicists.

  Letters to a Pre-Scientist
The US-based pen-pal program is designed to connect school students from low-income communities and STEM professionals with an aim to inspire, motivate and create an awareness about STEM careers as well as humanize researchers. It has been an absolute joy-ride sharing my journey and responding to the most authentic questions as a pen-pal during two school years – 2019-20 & 2021-22. Receiving letters in the mailbox has never been as exciting!

  Astronomy outreach activities
Between 2007 - 2013, I was involved with several outreach activities such as stargazing events and public talks for a broad age group as part of amateur astronomy clubs in Pune, India. This not only gave me some insights into science communication but also played an essential role in defining my career path.


Centre de Recherche Astrophysique de Lyon • 46 allée d’Italie • 69007 Lyon • France
IAU Office of Astronomy for Education • Königstuhl 17 • D-69117 Heidelberg • Germany

asmita [dot] bhandare [at] ens-lyon [dot] fr
bhandare [at] mpia [dot] de

ORCID logo 0000-0002-1197-3946