Latest Updates

2016-03-30: Using the Spitzer Space Telescope, we have observed 55 Cancri e, a two Earth radii planet that completes an orbit around the host star every 18 hours. Our observations show that there is an extreme day-night temperature difference of 1,300 K, consistent with either a thick atmosphere of a planet that has had the atmosphere stripped away. Read the associated publication to learn more.

2014-09-10: How common are Venus analogs in planetary systems? To help answer this question, we a have developed a "Venus Zone" as a target selection tool for future characterization missions. Read the associated publication to learn more.

2014-03-24: The Habitable Zone Gallery has been updated with many new features, plot, search functions, and much more. The gallery now contains 1,418 planets in 855 planetary systems, with 53 planets spending 100% of their orbit in the Habitable Zone.

2013-05-28: Imagine the hostile surface conditions on a more massive version of the planet Venus. I show in a recent paper that Kepler-69c is far more likely to bear a Venusian than Earth environment and thus is highly unlikely to be habitable. The Venera landers would not have fared so well.

2012-11-12: The latest update of the Habitable Zone Gallery includes Alpha Centauri B b, the Earth-mass planet discovered to orbit one of our closest neighbors. The gallery now contains 599 planets in 484 planetary systems.

2011-08-25: The Habitable Zone Gallery has been launched! This is a site dedicated to tracking the orbits of exoplanets in relation to their Habitable Zones and should be of interest to anyone interested in life in the universe.

2011-04-27: What would it take to discover the planets of Uranus and Neptune from the vantage point of another star? What are our current best hopes of finding similar ice giant planets? Read the paper in Icarus on detecting the signatures of Uranus and Neptune.

2011-03-24: The TERMS project has released the results for the planet orbiting HD 156846. These results provide a greatly improved orbital ephemeris for the planet and predict transit windows for the next five years. If anyone has access to southern telescopes then keep the date of 24th August 2011 in mind. The next transit mid-point is predicted to occur at 02h 12m UT on this date.

2011-02-02: Dawn Gelino and myself have continued our work on the phase variations of exoplanets by investigating the dependence of the phase signatures on orbital inclination. We still have a lot more to say on this topic so stay tuned for more results from this study as well as new results from the TERMS project.

2010-10-02: A growing capability from space-based observatories is the ability to measure the phase variations of exoplanets and thus determine their atmospheric albedos. Dawn Gelino and myself have begun a multi-wavelength study of this phenomenon, the first of which is an investigation of phase variations of known long-period exoplanets in eccentric orbits at the wavelengths of the Kepler Mission.

2010-07-27: First results from the Transit Ephemeris Refinement and Monitoring Survey (TERMS) are now being produced. We have provided revised orbital parameters and transit predictions for the planet orbiting iota Draconis. Further information about the techniques of the survey can be found through this link.

2009-12-05: The website for the Transit Ephemeris Refinement and Monitoring Survey (TERMS) is now live. Further information about the techniques of the survey can be found in the paper "Refining Exoplanet Ephemerides and Transit Observing Strategies".

2008-11-17: The biggest news in this update is that Saskia can now make it all the way across the monkey-bars on her own! In other news, our survey of known radial velocity planet host-stars at predicted transit times is well underway, with loads of data from CTIO waiting to be analysed. Also, I've had two more papers accepted by the Astrophysical Journal: "Constraining Orbital Parameters Through Planetary Transit Monitoring" and "Discovery of a Low-Mass Companion to the Solar-Type Star TYC 2534-698-1".

2008-06-08: With Saskia starting school and Mackenzie becoming increasingly verbose, the world seems to be in a state of flux at the moment. This is certainly true of transiting planet research, as demonstrated by amazing results presented at the recent Transiting Planets conference held in Boston. Keep an eye out for such results as new low-mass planets from HARPS and secondary eclipses of the 111.78 day period planet HD 80606b.

2008-01-23: I've more or less completed my transition to the Michelson Science Center now. Also, we have three new planets from SuperWASP, including WASP-3b from the northern installation, and the first two planets from the southern installation; WASP-4b and WASP-5b.

2007-12-10: The final SuperWASP 2004 transit candidate papers is now accepted in MNRAS, entitled ("SuperWASP-N Extra-solar Planet Candidates from Fields 06hr < RA < 16hr"). Additionally, I will be moving to Caltech at the end of this year to join the Michelson Science Center as a Staff Scientist.

2007-06-27: I've had a few papers accepted in MNRAS recently regarding my work on simulating results from radial velocity surveys ("Simulations for Multi-Object Spectrograph Planet Surveys") and a related study on transiting planets ("Detectability of Exoplanetary Transits from Radial Velocity Surveys"). I have a couple more on the way regarding optimisation of observing cadence to improve planet detection efficiency.

2006-09-26: Introducing two new transiting planets - WASP-1b and WASP-2b. More details here.

2006-03-20: Mackenzie Scarlett Kane, my beautiful daughter, has entered the world.

2006-01-25: We've discovered a 5.5 Earth-mass planet via microlensing. More details here.

2006-01-11: Introducing our new planet: ET-1.

2005-09-28: I had two lead author papers accepted for publication today; a microlensing theory paper ("Studying the Galactic Bulge Through Spectroscopy of Microlensed Sources: I. Theoretical Considerations") accepted in ApJ, and a WASP0 transit hunting paper ("Results from the Wide Angle Search for Planets Prototype (WASP0) III: Planet Hunting in the Draco Field"), accepted in MNRAS. More details are in my publication list.