Faculty Experts - Edward F. Guinan, PhD

Edward Guinan, PhD

Edward F. Guinan, PhD
Department of Astrophysics and Planetary ScienceVillanova University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Areas of Expertise:

  • Stellar Astrophysics including Solar Activity and Flares
  • Binary Star Systems
  • Astrobiology/Exobiology
  • Exoplanets and the Suitability of Exoplanets for Life
  • Pulsating Stars and Stellar Evolution
  • Interstellar Travel Potential


Dr. Guinan is a pioneer in astronomy and space science research that studies our Sun, stars, and planets inside and outside our solar system as well as the search for potential life on these planets. His recent research efforts are primarily aimed at studying the effects that X-ray and UV from host stars have on their planets and to determine if these exoplanets could be habitable. Dr. Guinan also carries out research in astrobiology on Earth to study extremophiles (life in extreme conditions) as proxies for potential life on Venus, Mars, and Titan. A principal and guest investigator on numerous NASA astronomy and NASA and NSF sponsored research programs, Dr. Guinan is adept at presenting complex astronomical concepts in a lively, clear fashion.

Dr. Guinan is active in establishing and promoting astronomy education worldwide. He is the Founder and a member of the African Astronomical Society (AfAS) and East Africa Astronomical Society (EAAS).  Dr. Guinan is also the Chair of the International Astronomy Union’s (IAU) Teaching Astronomy for Development (TAD) program which stimulates and supports astronomy research at universities in developing countries. In addition, he participates in CARIB-STEM programs held at the University College of the Cayman Islands (UCCI).


  • Ph.D.    University of Pennsylvania
  • B.S.      Villanova University 


Selected Publications

  • Cuntz, M. and Guinan, E.F., (2016) “About Exobiology: The Case for Dwarf K Stars”, Astrophysical Journal 827 (1).
  • Ribas, I., Bolmont, E.,Selsis,F.,Reiners,A, Leconte,J., Raymond,S., Engle,S.G., Guinan, E.F.,
  • Morin, J., Turbet, M., Forget, F., Anglada-Escude, G., (2016) “The Habitability of Proxima b I. XUV radiation environment and evolution of the volatile inventory”, Astronomy & Astrophysics (in press)
  • Nelson, Hilding R., Engle, Scott G., Guinan, Edward F. Bisol, Alexandra C., Butterworth, Neil, (2016) ”The Secret Life of Cepheids: Evolution, Mass Loss, and Ultraviolet Emission of the Long Period Classical Cepheid L Carinae, Astrophysical Journal, 824 (1)
  • Guinan, E.F., Engle, S.G., Durbin, A., (2016)Living with a Red Dwarf: Rotation and X-Ray and Ultraviolet Properties of the Halo Population Kapteyn's Star”, Astrophysical Journal, 821, 81.
  • do Nascimento, J.-D., et al. (2016), Magnetic Field and Wind of Kappa Ceti: Toward the Planetary Habitability of the Young Sun When Life Arose on Earth, ApJ, 820, L15

Professional Experience

  • Adjunct Professor, James Cook University, Australia
  • Doctorial Advisor,/Consultant Institute for Advanced Studies in Basic Sciences, Iran
  • Program Advisor/Consultant, Iran National Observatory
  • Langley-Abbott Visiting Scientist, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
  • Associate Director, Biruni Observatory, Shiraz University, Shiaz, Iran

Selected Research

  • NASA and NSF, “Sun in Time Program.” The study (since 1988) of solar and stellar dynamos and magnetic evolution of the Sun and effects of resulting coronal X-ray –chromospheric UV radiation on hosted planets.Also investigating the effects of solar and stellar flares on hosted planets.
  • NSF, RUI, “The Study of Eclipsing Binaries using Artificial Intelligence” (The EBAI Project). – Conducted since 2006 with co-investigators Dr. Andrej Prsa and Dr. Edward Devinney– to develop Neural Network / Artificial Intelligence Protocols for the analysis of the millions of the light curves of eclipsing binaries and variable stars expected from Kepler, PanSTARRS and big data missions such Gaia and LSST.
  • NSF, NASA/Hubble Space Telescope, NASA/Chandra and NASA/ESA XMM-Newton, “Living with a Red Dwarf Program.” (2010-Present) Conducted with co-investigators Scott Engle, George McCook, Richard Wasatonic, Larry DeWarf and several undergraduate students. The primary aims of this program are the study of magnetic dynamo energy generation of stars with deep convective zones and the impacts of the resulting X-ray / UV emissions, stellar winds and powerful flares on hosted planets. Just recently an Earth-size, potentially habitable planet, Proxima Cen b, was discovered orbiting the nearest red dwarf stars.
  • With the support of a Villanova University Faculty Support and Development Grant, “Astrobiology: Life in Pitch Lakes and Mud Volcanoes as Analogs for Potential Life on Titan and Mars” (2010-2016) is being carried out in collaboration with Dr. Dirk Schulze-Makuch (WSU) and Dr. Shirin Haque (UWI). Study of biological content of a large pitch (tar) lake and mud volcanoes in southern Trinidad to determine, respectively, the biotic potential of hydrocarbon lakes on the moon Titan and the potential for life on Mars.


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