GILLON Michaël


Directeur de recherche FNRS & Fonds assoc.

GILLON Michaël

Faculté des Sciences
Département d'astrophysique, géophysique et océanographie (AGO)
Exoplanets in Transit: Identification and Characterization
Faculté des Sciences
Département d'astrophysique, géophysique et océanographie (AGO)

ULiège address
Bât. B5C ExoTIC
Quartier Agora
Allée du six Août 19c
4000 Liège 1
ULiège phone number
+32 4 3669743
ULiège Fax
+32 4 3669711
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Conseil sectoriel à la recherche et à la valorisation
Sciences et Techniques
Personal website (s)
Personal website (s)
SPECULOOS (Search for habitable Planets EClipsing ULtra-cOOl Stars)
Personal website (s)
TRAPPIST - TRAnsiting Planets and PlanetesImals Small Telescope


Michaël Gillon holds a master's degree in biochemistry and a master's degree and a PhD in astrophysics. He completed his formation with a post-doc at the Geneva Observatory, joining Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz team, pioneers and leaders in exoplanet research. Back at the University of Liège since January 2009, he is now Senior Research Associate at the FNRS (Belgian national fund for scientific research) and continues his work on the detection of exoplanets and their physicochemical characterization.

Michaël Gillon is the scientific leader of the exoplanets part of the TRAPPIST project, which has participated to the detection of more than one hundred transiting exoplanets, including the now famous exoplanetary system TRAPPIST-1, revealed to the public on 22 February 2017 during an international press conference at NASA headquarters and through a publication in the scientific journal Nature.

In 2007, Michaël Gillon performed the first detection of the transit of an exoplanet similar to Neptune in terms of mass and radius. In 2010, he was the principal investigator of the project that made the first measurement of the thermal emission of a "super-Earth". Since 2012, he has been developing and leading the SPECULOOS project that targets nearby ultra-cold red dwarfs to detect potentially habitable planets well-suited for detailed atmospheric studies, including the search for chemical traces of life. He is also involved -as executive Board member- in the CHEOPS space mission, which consists in a small space telescope aiming to study in more detail already known transiting planets.

Research field

  • Astronomie
  • Astrophysique

Duties or mandates

  • Senior Research Associate - FNRS

Scientific distinctions

  • Francqui Prize (2021)
  • NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal (2018)
  • NASA Group Achievement Award (2018)
  • Balzan Prize for the Sun's Planetary System and Exoplanets (2017)
  • Paul and Marie Stroobant Prize in Observational Astronomy, Royal Belgium Academy of Science (2011)
  • Walter Verly and Marcel Florkin Prizes, University of Liège (2002)

ULiège Course

Introduction to exoplanetology, 20h Th, 10h Pr, ABSIL Olivier, GILLON Michaël

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