Project support for the Wide Angle Search for Planets

Lead Research Organisation: University of Leicester
Department Name: Physics and Astronomy

Abstract

Questions such as ``how many stars have planets around them?'' and ``how many habitable planets are there?'' interest both astronomers and everyone else. To answer them we need to find planets that can be studied in detail, seeking to understand the processes by which planets form and solar systems evolve. Of the two hundred planets that astronomers have found orbiting other stars we can learn most about those that transit in front of their star. We can measure how big they are, how heavy they are, and thus deduce their density and what they are made of. And by looking at how their atmosphere absorbs the light of their star we can discover the composition of their atmospheres. The WASP project aims to monitor 40 million of the brightest stars, looking for the tiny dips in their light caused by a planet passing in front of them. We will survey the sky for the transiting planets that are relatively close to Earth, which we can study in detail to enable us to understand how planetary systems form and evolve. The next generation of space missions, such as the James Webb Space Telescope, the successor to Hubble, will prioritize the study of planets around other stars. The WASP project will find the planets that will make the best and most interesting targets.

Publications

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Anderson D (2008) WASP-5b: a dense, very hot Jupiter transiting a 12th-mag Southern-hemisphere star in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters

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Anderson D (2011) WASP-40b: Independent Discovery of the 0.6  M Jup Transiting Exoplanet HAT-P-27b in Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific

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Anderson D (2010) WASP-17b: AN ULTRA-LOW DENSITY PLANET IN A PROBABLE RETROGRADE ORBIT in The Astrophysical Journal

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Butters O (2010) The first WASP public data release in Astronomy and Astrophysics

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Butters O (2010) RXTE and XMM observations of intermediate polar candidates in Astronomy & Astrophysics

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Butters O (2009) RXTE confirmation of the intermediate polar status of IGR J15094-6649 in Astronomy & Astrophysics

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Byckling K (2009) Swift observations of GW Lib: a unique insight into a rare outburst in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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Christian D (2009) WASP-10b: a 3M J , gas-giant planet transiting a late-type K star in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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Collier Cameron A (2009) The main-sequence rotation???colour relation in the Coma Berenices open cluster in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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Enoch B (2010) WASP-25b: a 0.6 MJ planet in the Southern hemisphere WASP-25b in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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Faedi F (2009) Transit detection limits for sub-stellar and terrestrial companions to white dwarfs in Journal of Physics: Conference Series

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Fossati L (2010) METALS IN THE EXOSPHERE OF THE HIGHLY IRRADIATED PLANET WASP-12b in The Astrophysical Journal

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Gibson N (2010) Ground-based detection of thermal emission from the exoplanet WASP-19b in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters

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Hebb L (2009) WASP-12b: THE HOTTEST TRANSITING EXTRASOLAR PLANET YET DISCOVERED in The Astrophysical Journal