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Category: publications

New paper and press release: Discovery of a monster planet ?>

New paper and press release: Discovery of a monster planet

A timely discovery for Halloween: Our NGTS collaboration has discovered a “monster planet”, a giant planet around a very small star. This is very surprising, because barely any of those huge planets have been found close to tiny stars. We will have to re-think some of our planet formation theories. A neat press release has been published by Queen’s University Belfast: Monster planet discovery challenges formation theory, which gives the key points about the discovery in layperson’s terms. And here…

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New paper: Next Generation Transit Survey (2) ?>

New paper: Next Generation Transit Survey (2)

The mission paper about the Next Generation Transit Survey (NGTS), a ground-based telescope network to search for transiting exoplanets, has just been published. I’m happy to be part of this project, which is a collaboration between several universities in the UK, Germany, Chile, and Switzerland – lots of exciting discoveries to come soon! Here’s some more info about the paper: We describe the Next Generation Transit Survey (NGTS), which is a ground-based project searching for transiting exoplanets orbiting bright stars….

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New paper: Discovery of three (plus one) small planets around a small star ?>

New paper: Discovery of three (plus one) small planets around a small star

Happy to report that we have discovered three small planets, plus one additional candidate planet, around a small cool star. This is some very nice work by my PhD student Rob Wells. The planets were discovered using data from the Kepler K2 space telescope. The planets are in fairly close orbits around their host star; the candidate planet, for which we need some more data to be certain it is really a planet, might be in the habitable zone of…

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Press release: Are we being watched? Tens of other worlds could spot the Solar System ?>

Press release: Are we being watched? Tens of other worlds could spot the Solar System

This is a week full of press releases: my other PhD student, Rob Wells, just published a paper in MNRAS about transit zones (places in the sky where an extraterrestrial observer could detect our solar system planets through transits). There are about 70 currently known exoplanet systems that are located in the solar system’s transit zones. None of those have any known habitable zone planets, but prospects of finding a habitable system with mutual transit visibility are good: the Kepler-K2…

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Press release: X-rays Reveal Temperament of Possible Planet-Hosting Stars ?>

Press release: X-rays Reveal Temperament of Possible Planet-Hosting Stars

My PhD student Rachel Booth has been working on X-ray data from several space telescopes and has published our findings in MNRAS recently: X-ray emission from stars quiets down with age much more dramatically than thought before (see here for more details about the paper). Now NASA has published a press release on Rachel’s research, here is the link: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/chandra/news/x-rays-reveal-temperament-of-possible-planet-hosting-stars.html. Some really nice results, and hopefully we’ll be able to collect more data soon and study this in even more…

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New paper: Transit visibility zones of the solar system planets ?>

New paper: Transit visibility zones of the solar system planets

New paper by my PhD student Rob Wells: The detection of thousands of extrasolar planets by the transit method naturally raises the question of whether potential extrasolar observers could detect the transits of the Solar System planets. We present a comprehensive analysis of the regions in the sky from where transit events of the Solar System planets can be detected. We specify how many different Solar System planets can be observed from any given point in the sky, and find…

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New paper: Next Generation Transit Survey (1) ?>

New paper: Next Generation Transit Survey (1)

I’m happy to be part of the Next Generation Transit Survey (NGTS) collaboration, a ground-based array of telescopes in Chile searching for exoplanets transiting their host stars. We have just published a paper on detecting false positives with NGTS, namely background transits of dim stars across brighter stars, through centroid vetting. The paper is accepted for publication by Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. “Centroid vetting of transiting planet candidates from the Next Generation Transit Survey”, accepted by MNRAS…

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New paper: Magnetic activity of old cool stars ?>

New paper: Magnetic activity of old cool stars

Happy to report that my PhD student Rachel Booth has successfully published her first paper! It’s a very interesting analysis of the magnetic activity of old cool stars, with a surprising find about the decline of activity at old stellar ages. Our paper has also been featured on the Astrobites blog: https://astrobites.org/2017/07/03/adventures-in-watchmaking-for-cool-stars/. Here’s the abstract of the paper: Stars with convective envelopes display magnetic activity, which decreases over time due to the magnetic braking of the star. This age-dependence of…

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New paper: Testing if Fomalhaut b is a neutron star ?>

New paper: Testing if Fomalhaut b is a neutron star

Happy to report that our paper has also been picked for presentation on the Astrobites blog: https://astrobites.org/2017/03/24/a-neutron-star-in-the-eye-of-sauron/. Here’s the abstract of the paper: Fomalhaut b is a directly imaged object in the debris disk of the star Fomalhaut. It has been hypothesized to be a planet, however there are issues with the observed colours of the object that do not fit planetary models. An alternative hypothesis is that the object is a neutron star in the near fore- or background…

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New paper on magnetic cycle simulation of Proxima Centauri ?>

New paper on magnetic cycle simulation of Proxima Centauri

The recent discovery of an Earth-like exoplanet around Proxima Centauri has shined a spot light on slowly rotating fully convective M-stars. When such stars rotate rapidly (period <20 days), they are known to generate very high levels of activity that is powered by a magnetic field much stronger than the solar magnetic field. Recent theoretical efforts are beginning to understand the dynamo process that generates such strong magnetic fields. However, the observational and theoretical landscape remains relatively uncharted for fully…

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