Funded with £2.75 million from the European Commission, this research and technology network will focus on the search for rocky planets around cool stars and the development of future space-based technology to study extra-solar planets.
Cool stars are much fainter than the Sun and are thus challenging to study, but they play a major role in astrophysics; they are the most common type of star in our Galaxy.
"This fast moving field is at the forefront of modern astrophysics, and is moving towards a goal of discovering terrestrial planets like the Earth around stars other than the Sun," said Dr Pinfield. "Learning about the diverse range of planetary systems that exist around other stars allows us to better understand our own place in the universe, and will reveal the extent of possible habitats for life elsewhere."
The project is built on the team’s international collaboration with leading research institutes in the UK (UH and Cambridge), Spain (Canary Islands and Madrid), Germany (Munich) and Ukraine (Kiev), and the space engineering company Astrium (based in Stevenage).
Over its four year life-time (Dec 2008 – Nov 2012) the project will employ fifteen young doctoral and postdoctoral researchers to carry out new research, work with industry on technology development, and receive training through a range of science and technology activities.
The network will specifically pursue extra-solar planets that transit (pass in-front of their host star during their orbit) - currently an extremely active area of astronomy. For cool stars this technique is sensitive to smaller planets that could be warm rocky worlds.
By exploiting new survey facilities that are being led by Dr Pinfield and his network, they aim to improve their understanding of the broad nature of extra-solar planet populations, and explore new extra-solar planet territory around the coolest stars in our galaxy. Intersectorial activities will be carried out jointly at UH and Astrium, and will centre on the European Space Agency's Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 programme to implement the next generation of space-based observatories.
“The project will thus be looking to the future as well as focussing on the ongoing search for and study of planets around other stars,” Dr Pinfield added.
Helene Murphy | alfa
From rocks in Colorado, evidence of a 'chaotic solar system'
23.02.2017 | University of Wisconsin-Madison
Prediction: More gas-giants will be found orbiting Sun-like stars
22.02.2017 | Carnegie Institution for Science
In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport
Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...
The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.
The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...
Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...
Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".
Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...
13.02.2017 | Event News
10.02.2017 | Event News
09.02.2017 | Event News
23.02.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.02.2017 | Earth Sciences
23.02.2017 | Life Sciences