Transiting planets with the CoRoT space mission

Lead Research Organisation: University of Oxford
Department Name: Oxford Physics


In this Rolling Grant application, we describe an interdisciplinary programme of observational and theoretical research in extrasolar planets, to be conducted at the University of Exeter, through a new collaboration between the Astrophysics Group in the School of Physics and the Centre for Geophysical and Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics (CGAFD) in the School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics (SECaM). The research programme combines state-of-the-art observations and theoretical calculations to detect, determine the properties of, and model the formation and evolution of extrasolar planets. We will perform three-dimensional self-gravitating radiation hydrodynamical simulations of gas accretion by a protoplanet core to form giant planets to produce more accurate models of young gas giant planets. We will directly image gas giant planets around young nearby stars using adaptive optics on the VLT and the Gemini Planet Imager and use these observations to test the models. We will undertake space-based observations of transiting planets using HST and Spitzer to understand the chemistry and dynamics of the atmospheres of giant planets that are very close to their stars and model these atmospheres using convective three-dimensional simulations. Finally, we will analyse the data from CoRoT, the first space-based transiting planet search mission, to detect and characterise planets of Neptune-mass and below and the systems they are part of, as well as search for light reflected by giant planets.


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ST/G002266/1 01/10/2009 31/01/2010 £272,257
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