Benne is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Leiden, the Netherlands. Before that, he spent time as a Research fellow at the European Space Agency, the University of Cape Town and the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore. Both his MsC and PhD are from the University of Groningen (NL).
His research is on the transparency of spiral galaxies, galaxy evolution and galaxy morphometrics. Galaxy transparency depends on the amount of dust in them and this is highlighted nicely when one galaxy accidentally overlaps another, more distant one. These occulting galaxy pairs can be used for high accuracy maps of dust in other galaxies.
His current research includes the sizes of the very first galaxies and star/galaxy separation in deep Hubble images. The searches for the first galaxies with Hubble also result in catalogs of Brown Dwarf stars in the halo of our Milky Way.
Benne lives near Leiden with his wife Robin, who works at UNAWE on astronomy outreach and education, Charlotte (5) and Marten (3). Dad days include trips to the many local musea. He is opinionated about equity in Astronomy, education, outreach, and work/life balance in academia. On twitter as @benneholwerda