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
Gamma rays will reach beyond the limits of light
23.10.2017 | Chalmers University of Technology
Creation of coherent states in molecules by incoherent electrons
23.10.2017 | Tata Institute of Fundamental Research
Salmonellae are dangerous pathogens that enter the body via contaminated food and can cause severe infections. But these bacteria are also known to target...
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
23.10.2017 | Event News
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
23.10.2017 | Life Sciences
23.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.10.2017 | Health and Medicine