The direct detection1 of the optical spectral signature of 51 Pegasi b, by an international team2 led by Jorge Martins from Instituto de Astrofísica e Ciências do Espaço (IA3), was shortlisted as one of the Top Ten Physics Breakthroughs of 2015 byPhysics World magazine, and was awarded the 2015 Gago Coutinho International Award.
The Gago Coutinho award was attributed to Jorge Martins, Nuno Santos and Pedro Figueira (IA & University of Porto), and Cláudio Melo (ESO). Martins, a Ph.D student at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Porto (FCUP), but currently developing his thesis at ESO’s Santiago (Chile) office , commented: “It is for us a great honor for our research to be distinguished with the Gago Coutinho award, as well as being considered as one of the Top Ten Physics Breakthroughs of 2015”.
The Gago Coutinho International Award in the field of Earth and Space Sciences is attributed every two years by the Lisbon Geography Society. The society, founded in 1875, completes 140 years in 2015. This award, with a monetary value of three thousand euros, distinguishes original research works that contribute to the advancement of knowledge in this scientific field.
About his work, Martins also added that: "The detection of the optical reflected spectral signature of an exoplanet is a huge step towards the characterization of exoplanets, in particular of their atmospheres.”
The results of this research were recently published in the renowned peer-reviewed magazine Astronomy & Astrophysics.