Tom Hands
University of Leicester logo
Theoretical Astrophysics Group, University of Leicester, UK

Other projects

In addition to my research on exoplanets, I spend some of my free time working on small astronomy-related projects. I'll try to keep this page updated with some of them, I hope someone finds them interesting! Please feel free to send me an email if you have any questions about any of these things.


adstex is a small utility I wrote in Python to try to take some of the pain out of finding references for LaTex documents. It allows you to give citations in your LaTex document in a (reasonably) user-friendly, human-readable fashion, which it then tries to pull from ADS without any extra effort on your part. You can check it out on GitHub.

In-browser SPH

As part of my on-going quest to shove as much astronomy into the browser as possible, I developed a basic, 2D SPH code using Google's DART language. You can view a test simulation here, but be aware that it might consume quite a lot of your computer's resources. The code itself has artificial viscosity and uses the Wendland kernels. It decomposes the domain into a 2D, regular grid for neighbour finding (displayed in red). It's not the best SPH implementation on the planet - I had to throw out some of the finer points of the algorithm to get it running at a reasonable speed, but it was an interesting toy to work on.

Javascript N-body integrator

Running in the background of this very page is an N-body integrator written in Javascript. It uses a leapfrog integrator and a fixed timestep with no gravitational softening. As a result of this, close-encounters make it go a little haywire, which is why I have by default enabled billiard-ball style collisions between particles. You can turn this feature on and off, pause the simulation, and add more bodies by clicking the little link at the very bottom of this page that allows you to interact with the simulation. Or you can just click here.

Exoplanet visualisation video

Back in 2014, I used the Open Exoplanet Catalogue to produce this visualisation video of all (then-known) exoplanets around single stars.

I was fortunate enough to get some press attention for the video:
- Huffington Post
- CNet
- Yahoo
- Universe Today


exovis is a visualisation tool to help you get a grasp on the relative scale of different exoplanetary systems, with data being lifted from the Open Exoplanet Catalogue. You can check it out here.