Astronomia UDP

Picture of Danielle de Brito Silva

Danielle de Brito Silva

I am a postodoctoral researcher, who recently graduated from UDP in December 2023, and interested in Galactic Archaeology. My main goal is to understand the evolution of the Milky Way and how it connects with the evolution of galaxies in general. In order to do so, I use two main approaches, one classic and one innovative. In the classic approach, I study chemical abundances, dynamics, and ages of old stellar populations, combining results from my own analysis with large survey data (i.e. data from Gaia, GALAH, and APOGEE surveys). In the innovative approach, I work with stellar phylogeny, which is a new and powerful way to explore the evolutionary history of the Galaxy. In my research with stellar phylogeny, I use both simulations of galaxies and chemical abundances derived from my own spectra to build phylogenetic trees and investigate the evolution of galaxies using this method.

Current Position: Postdoctoral researcher


During my Ph.D. I worked on several exciting projects, but I have been dedicating most of my time to two of them. In my first project, I am investigating what old stars can tell us about the physical processes that led to the Milky Way as we know it today. I am focusing my thesis on halo stellar populations. The halo of the Milky Way is an old component and contains debris from past merger events. Studying this debris can help to unveil the assembly of the Galaxy. I am actively working on how to characterize the different stellar populations of the halo in terms of stellar ages, dynamics, and chemical composition. By characterizing the different stellar populations, I intend to untangle some of the different building blocks of our Galaxy. In my second project, I am working with stellar phylogeny in simulated galaxies, as part of my contribution to the Núcleo Milenio ERIS. Since stellar phylogeny is a new way to study the evolution of the Milky Way, there are still open questions. By building phylogenetic trees of simulated data, there is the advantage of verifying how well the phylogenetic trees illustrate the evolution experienced by the galaxy. In this project, I have been exploring several questions that will be fundamental in the future to build and interpret phylogenetic trees of Milky Way stars. Apart from the Núcleo Milenio ERIS, I am also part of the Gaia-Benchmark stars collaboration and the SDSS-V collaboration. The objective of the Gaia-Benchmark stars is to provide reliable stellar parameters and chemical abundances of stars to be used as a calibration set among different works and stellar surveys. In the SDSS-V collaboration, I am part of the Halo Working Group, whose main objective is to better understand this Galactic component.


  • 2019-Present: During my Ph.D. I had 6 observational proposals accepted as Principal Investigator. 5 of them to use Clay Telescope at Las Campanas Observatory and 1 to use VLT telescope at Paranal Observatory. I also acquired observational experience leading an observation using SOAR telescope. Additionally, I had various other observations as a collaborator awarded time.
  • Ph.D. funding: My Ph.D. is funded by the Agencia Nacional de Investigación y Desarrollo (ANID)
  • Bachelor funding: My research in my Undergraduate studies was funded by São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP)
  • 2018 – I was selected to represent the University of São Paulo at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin due to merit at the 25th USP International Symposium of Undergraduate Research, Pro-Rectory of Research of the University of São Paulo. My work was chosen as one of the 13 best works presented among the 3424 works registered in the corresponding edition of the event.
  • 2018 – Honorable Mention by the poster “Detecting extragalactic globular clusters in early-type galaxies in J-PLUS images”, 70th annual meeting of the Brazilian Society for the Advancement of Science
  • 2017 – Honorable Mention by the poster “Detecting extragalactic globular clusters in early-type galaxies in J-PLUS images”, Pro-Rectory of Research of University of São Paulo
  • 2017 – Best poster at the XXIII IAG, IGc and IME Symposium of Undergraduate Research, “Detecting extragalactic globular clusters in early-type galaxies in J-PLUS images”
  • Collaborations: Nucleo Milenio ERIS Gaia Benchmark stars SDSS-V


Extracurricular activities:

I have loved reading since I was a little kid. Books are a very special part of my life. My love for reading stimulates my passion for writing. Since I enjoy stories in general, I also like watching movies. Additionally, traveling is something I love doing because every trip I do changes my vision of the world a little bit and expands my horizons. I enjoy baking cakes, especially while listening to music. The experience of creating something that I can share with people around me (in particular with my family) and that makes them happy, gives me joy. I also like graphic design. The process of choosing color schemes, lettering designs, and shapes to visually create something is fulfilling for me.