Dr. Billy Quarles Portrait

Dr. Billy Quarles

Assistant Professor of Astronomy and Physics

  • PhD
    University of Texas at Arlington

My research involves the observation and theoretical study of planets with multiple suns.  Like Tatooine, such exoplanets orbit a pair of stars and these exotic worlds are no longer science fiction or theoretical curiosities.  The Kepler Space Telescope has discovered around a dozen binary stars that host at least one circumbinary planet (CBP), where the stellar binary orbit lies completely within the planetary orbit.  Additionally, I am interested in planets that orbit only one star out of the stellar binary.  The nearest star to the Solar System is Proxima Centauri, which orbits the binary star system Alpha Centauri AB.  My work explores how an Earth-like planet would orbit either star in the binary and the consequences for life as we know such a world.

I became interested in science from an early age and grew to appreciate astronomy greatly throughout my childhood.  My interest in planets evolved from watching science fiction dramas like Star Trek: TNG and Contact due to their exploratory nature of alien worlds.  As a graduate student, I discovered that it was possible to have a career exploring alien worlds, no starship required.  From there, I became interested in the dynamics of planetary orbits and the possible origins of planets.