Warwick Astronomy and Astrophysics Consolidated Grant 2017-2020

Lead Research Organisation: University of Warwick
Department Name: Physics

Abstract

What powers the most violent explosions in the Universe? What kind of galaxies host them? How do they relate to more normal galaxies? How do stars interact with each other in binary systems? When such stars spiral together, can we detect the tiny ripples in space-time that Einstein predicted and can we detect any light from such events? What are planets around other stars like? How many are there? What are they made of? These questions, which range from near neighbours in our Galaxy to the furthest reaches of the observable Universe, are those that the Warwick Astronomy and Astrophysics group will investigate. We will do so with a mixture of observations using ground- and space-based telescopes, theoretical developments and computationally-intensive numerical modelling. Although most of the Universe lies far beyond our direct reach, our understanding of physics allows us to extrapolate into regimes of unimaginable temperatures, densities, velocities and magnetic fields. Nevertheless, just as the most powerful computers can only forecast the weather for a few days in advance, the equations governing celestial objects can be formidably complex to solve, and we need observations to guide us. Starting in our backyard, a little over 20 years ago, the only planets we knew about were the planets of our own Solar System. Today, we know of more than 1000 planets around other stars, many of them extraordinarily different from our near neighbours. Warwick is the lead institute in a European collaboration to implement a new survey for Neptune-sized planets. The survey is based upon the decrease of light as the planets blocks light from the star. These are the most interesting planets to find because they allow us to measure both the mass and size of the planet. For a particular mass, the size of a planet depends upon its interior properties, opening up the remarkable possibility of probing the interiors of planets light-years from Earth. Incredibly, there is a more direct method still: we now know of dense, dead stars called white dwarfs which are surrounded by dusty disks of planetary building materials. As this material rains down onto the white dwarf, it is vaporised, allowing us to measure what it is made of. White dwarfs are usually highly stable, but very rarely, if enough matter is dumped onto them as can occur when they have a nearby companion in a binary system, they explode through uncontrolled nuclear fusion. This tears the entire star apart within a few seconds, in the process producing one of the optically-brightest explosions known along with most of the iron in the present day Universe. We are interested in understanding how these rare events come about. Such "supernovae" are so rare that we have to look beyond our own Galaxy to find them, and that is where even rarer and more exotic cataclysms are seen. The brightest explosions of all are the Gamma Ray Bursts (GRBs), which are rare, but so bright that they can be seen more than 10 billion light-years away in the distant Universe. Remarkably for such dramatic events, there seem to be multiple ways for them to occur. We aim to understand their underlying cause. Surprisingly, the most powerful events of all may be very dim to our eyes: when a pair of black-holes orbits one another, they spiral-in because of the emission of energy through "gravitational waves", ripples in fabric of space. Physicists are on the verge of sensing these with exotic arrangements of lasers and mirrors designed to pick up tiny perturbations of length. We want to *see* such events, a tough challenge because our gravitational wave "eyes" are poor at pinning down locations on the sky and the events may be very dim. Supernovae, GRBs and merging black-holes come from stars residing in galaxies. To understand them, we need to understand galaxies, how they form stars and how they evolve over the 13 billion year history of the Universe.

Planned Impact

The Astronomy group is extensively involved in both inspirational and industrial impact. In recent years the level of public interest in STFC science has increased exponentially and the astronomy group has engaged to meet this need. Hand-in-hand with this, our research requirements have pushed our industrial collaborators to develop new high value products which feature in their catalogues. Our graduate students and contract staff have benefited from exposure to these relationships and some have become actively involved in product development.

Technology Development:
During the development of the NGTS detectors we worked closely with engineers at Andor Technology. The deep depleted technology of these chips needed new developments and testing and has now become a product listed on their website. This is similar to our work a decade ago resulting in the large format detectors used in the SuperWASP experiment.
We are working closely with Airbus UK to help them compete for the ESA M3 prime contractor contract. If the UK is able to win this contract (and Airbus are one of three short-listed manufacturers) the final contract will be worth as much as 300M euro to UK industry. We expect to work closely with Airbus in the future, especially if they are selected as prime contractor.

Inspiration:
We have a vigorous and successful schools programs which is centred around our travelling planetarium. We visit local schools that contain a some of the most disadvantaged children. This initiative is now effectively run by our PhD students.
We will further expand this activity. Social media can be used to reach much larger audiences than has hitherto been possible. We encourage our students to engage with many social media platforms for astronomical purposes. We also encourage group members to involve the university press office with new and exciting discoveries - our last three press releases were led by PhD students and PDRAs. These have led to more traditional interactions with the mainstream press.

Publications

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Chrimes A (2019) The case for a high-redshift origin of GRB 100205A in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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Cooke B (2018) Single site observations of TESS single transit detections in Astronomy & Astrophysics

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Cooke Benjamin F. (2018) Single site observations of TESS single transit detections in Astronomy and Astrophysics

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Deca J (2018) Evolutionary constraints on the long-period subdwarf B binary PG 1018-047 in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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Defrère D (2018) Space-based infrared interferometry to study exoplanetary atmospheres in Experimental Astronomy

 
Description STFC ERF - 2019
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
 
Description XMM Panel - 2011/12, 2017/18
Geographic Reach Europe 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
 
Title SPIDERMAN 
Description SPIDERMAN is an open source piece of software to model the phase curves of exoplanets, made available at https://github.com/tomlouden/SPIDERMAN 
Type Of Material Computer model/algorithm 
Year Produced 2016 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Papers: SPIDERMAN: an open-source code to model phase curves and secondary eclipses (doi: 10.1093/mnras/sty558 ) An ultra-short period rocky super-Earth with a secondary eclipse and a Neptune-like companion around K2-141 (doi: 10.3847/1538-3881/aaa5b5 ) The Transiting Exoplanet Community Early Release Science Program for JWST (doi: 10.1088/1538-3873/aadbf3 ) Global Climate and Atmospheric Composition of the Ultra-Hot Jupiter WASP-103b from HST and Spitzer Phase Curve Observations (doi: 10.3847/1538-3881/aac3df ) 
URL https://github.com/tomlouden/SPIDERMAN
 
Title TERMINATOR 
Description This code is for modelling the transmission spectra of planets with asymetric atmospheres at high resolution. it is made publicly available at https://github.com/tomlouden/TERMINATOR 
Type Of Material Computer model/algorithm 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact 3 first author papers currently in prep using this new technique. 
URL https://github.com/tomlouden/TERMINATOR
 
Description Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence 
Organisation Swinburne University of Technology
Country Australia 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Partner Investigator, ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery
Collaborator Contribution Centre is led from Swinburne
Impact Centre kicked off recently, main outputs under publications
Start Year 2017
 
Description GOTO collaboration 
Organisation Armagh Observatory
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Warwick leads this international project, Steeghs is the overall PI
Collaborator Contribution Capital investments for hardware and substantial in-kind contributions
Impact Press releases, media coverage, Nature Astronomy feature.
Start Year 2015
 
Description GOTO collaboration 
Organisation Monash University
Country Australia 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Warwick leads this international project, Steeghs is the overall PI
Collaborator Contribution Capital investments for hardware and substantial in-kind contributions
Impact Press releases, media coverage, Nature Astronomy feature.
Start Year 2015
 
Description GOTO collaboration 
Organisation National Astronomical Research Institute Of Thailand
Country Thailand 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Warwick leads this international project, Steeghs is the overall PI
Collaborator Contribution Capital investments for hardware and substantial in-kind contributions
Impact Press releases, media coverage, Nature Astronomy feature.
Start Year 2015
 
Description GOTO collaboration 
Organisation University of Leicester
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Warwick leads this international project, Steeghs is the overall PI
Collaborator Contribution Capital investments for hardware and substantial in-kind contributions
Impact Press releases, media coverage, Nature Astronomy feature.
Start Year 2015
 
Description GOTO collaboration 
Organisation University of Sheffield
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Warwick leads this international project, Steeghs is the overall PI
Collaborator Contribution Capital investments for hardware and substantial in-kind contributions
Impact Press releases, media coverage, Nature Astronomy feature.
Start Year 2015
 
Description NGTS Consortium 
Organisation Andor Technology
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution We are leading the development of the Next Generation Transit Survey (NGTS), which is a project aiming to discover small planets around bright stars using an array of robotic telescopes at the ESO Paranal site in Chile. We initiated the project with an institutional investment of £300k, and have been joined by 5 partner institutes all making comparable financial investments. At Warwick we have purchased key components of the facility (including CCD cameras and telescope mounts), led site negotiations with ESO, and we are leading the development of the observatory control and data analysis software. In the operational phase of the project, with support from STFC, we will carrying out the data analysis and lead the search for new planets in NGTS data.
Collaborator Contribution Geneva - have purchased key equipment and led the mechanical and optical design of the telescope array. DLR - have purchased CCD cameras and contributed to the development of data analysis software. Leicester - have purchased CCD cameras and computing hardware and led the calibration of the CCD cameras. Cavendish - have purchased key equipment and provided staff support for the installation of the facility in Chile. Belfast - developed a prototype instrument for La Palma that demonstrated the scientific feasibility of the survey.
Impact Primary output will be the discovery and characterisation of new exoplanets (published in peer reviewed journals). The NGTS data will also be made publicly available through the ESO data archive. Our collaboration with the manufacturer of our CCD cameras (Andor) has resulted in a new camera product and an improved understanding of CCD camera stability.
Start Year 2009
 
Description NGTS Consortium 
Organisation German Aerospace Centre (DLR)
Department DLR Institute Of Planetary Research
Country Germany 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution We are leading the development of the Next Generation Transit Survey (NGTS), which is a project aiming to discover small planets around bright stars using an array of robotic telescopes at the ESO Paranal site in Chile. We initiated the project with an institutional investment of £300k, and have been joined by 5 partner institutes all making comparable financial investments. At Warwick we have purchased key components of the facility (including CCD cameras and telescope mounts), led site negotiations with ESO, and we are leading the development of the observatory control and data analysis software. In the operational phase of the project, with support from STFC, we will carrying out the data analysis and lead the search for new planets in NGTS data.
Collaborator Contribution Geneva - have purchased key equipment and led the mechanical and optical design of the telescope array. DLR - have purchased CCD cameras and contributed to the development of data analysis software. Leicester - have purchased CCD cameras and computing hardware and led the calibration of the CCD cameras. Cavendish - have purchased key equipment and provided staff support for the installation of the facility in Chile. Belfast - developed a prototype instrument for La Palma that demonstrated the scientific feasibility of the survey.
Impact Primary output will be the discovery and characterisation of new exoplanets (published in peer reviewed journals). The NGTS data will also be made publicly available through the ESO data archive. Our collaboration with the manufacturer of our CCD cameras (Andor) has resulted in a new camera product and an improved understanding of CCD camera stability.
Start Year 2009
 
Description NGTS Consortium 
Organisation Queen's University Belfast
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We are leading the development of the Next Generation Transit Survey (NGTS), which is a project aiming to discover small planets around bright stars using an array of robotic telescopes at the ESO Paranal site in Chile. We initiated the project with an institutional investment of £300k, and have been joined by 5 partner institutes all making comparable financial investments. At Warwick we have purchased key components of the facility (including CCD cameras and telescope mounts), led site negotiations with ESO, and we are leading the development of the observatory control and data analysis software. In the operational phase of the project, with support from STFC, we will carrying out the data analysis and lead the search for new planets in NGTS data.
Collaborator Contribution Geneva - have purchased key equipment and led the mechanical and optical design of the telescope array. DLR - have purchased CCD cameras and contributed to the development of data analysis software. Leicester - have purchased CCD cameras and computing hardware and led the calibration of the CCD cameras. Cavendish - have purchased key equipment and provided staff support for the installation of the facility in Chile. Belfast - developed a prototype instrument for La Palma that demonstrated the scientific feasibility of the survey.
Impact Primary output will be the discovery and characterisation of new exoplanets (published in peer reviewed journals). The NGTS data will also be made publicly available through the ESO data archive. Our collaboration with the manufacturer of our CCD cameras (Andor) has resulted in a new camera product and an improved understanding of CCD camera stability.
Start Year 2009
 
Description NGTS Consortium 
Organisation University of Cambridge
Department Cavendish Laboratory
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We are leading the development of the Next Generation Transit Survey (NGTS), which is a project aiming to discover small planets around bright stars using an array of robotic telescopes at the ESO Paranal site in Chile. We initiated the project with an institutional investment of £300k, and have been joined by 5 partner institutes all making comparable financial investments. At Warwick we have purchased key components of the facility (including CCD cameras and telescope mounts), led site negotiations with ESO, and we are leading the development of the observatory control and data analysis software. In the operational phase of the project, with support from STFC, we will carrying out the data analysis and lead the search for new planets in NGTS data.
Collaborator Contribution Geneva - have purchased key equipment and led the mechanical and optical design of the telescope array. DLR - have purchased CCD cameras and contributed to the development of data analysis software. Leicester - have purchased CCD cameras and computing hardware and led the calibration of the CCD cameras. Cavendish - have purchased key equipment and provided staff support for the installation of the facility in Chile. Belfast - developed a prototype instrument for La Palma that demonstrated the scientific feasibility of the survey.
Impact Primary output will be the discovery and characterisation of new exoplanets (published in peer reviewed journals). The NGTS data will also be made publicly available through the ESO data archive. Our collaboration with the manufacturer of our CCD cameras (Andor) has resulted in a new camera product and an improved understanding of CCD camera stability.
Start Year 2009
 
Description NGTS Consortium 
Organisation University of Chile
Department Department of Astronomy (DAS)
Country Chile 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We are leading the development of the Next Generation Transit Survey (NGTS), which is a project aiming to discover small planets around bright stars using an array of robotic telescopes at the ESO Paranal site in Chile. We initiated the project with an institutional investment of £300k, and have been joined by 5 partner institutes all making comparable financial investments. At Warwick we have purchased key components of the facility (including CCD cameras and telescope mounts), led site negotiations with ESO, and we are leading the development of the observatory control and data analysis software. In the operational phase of the project, with support from STFC, we will carrying out the data analysis and lead the search for new planets in NGTS data.
Collaborator Contribution Geneva - have purchased key equipment and led the mechanical and optical design of the telescope array. DLR - have purchased CCD cameras and contributed to the development of data analysis software. Leicester - have purchased CCD cameras and computing hardware and led the calibration of the CCD cameras. Cavendish - have purchased key equipment and provided staff support for the installation of the facility in Chile. Belfast - developed a prototype instrument for La Palma that demonstrated the scientific feasibility of the survey.
Impact Primary output will be the discovery and characterisation of new exoplanets (published in peer reviewed journals). The NGTS data will also be made publicly available through the ESO data archive. Our collaboration with the manufacturer of our CCD cameras (Andor) has resulted in a new camera product and an improved understanding of CCD camera stability.
Start Year 2009
 
Description NGTS Consortium 
Organisation University of Geneva
Country Switzerland 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We are leading the development of the Next Generation Transit Survey (NGTS), which is a project aiming to discover small planets around bright stars using an array of robotic telescopes at the ESO Paranal site in Chile. We initiated the project with an institutional investment of £300k, and have been joined by 5 partner institutes all making comparable financial investments. At Warwick we have purchased key components of the facility (including CCD cameras and telescope mounts), led site negotiations with ESO, and we are leading the development of the observatory control and data analysis software. In the operational phase of the project, with support from STFC, we will carrying out the data analysis and lead the search for new planets in NGTS data.
Collaborator Contribution Geneva - have purchased key equipment and led the mechanical and optical design of the telescope array. DLR - have purchased CCD cameras and contributed to the development of data analysis software. Leicester - have purchased CCD cameras and computing hardware and led the calibration of the CCD cameras. Cavendish - have purchased key equipment and provided staff support for the installation of the facility in Chile. Belfast - developed a prototype instrument for La Palma that demonstrated the scientific feasibility of the survey.
Impact Primary output will be the discovery and characterisation of new exoplanets (published in peer reviewed journals). The NGTS data will also be made publicly available through the ESO data archive. Our collaboration with the manufacturer of our CCD cameras (Andor) has resulted in a new camera product and an improved understanding of CCD camera stability.
Start Year 2009
 
Description NGTS Consortium 
Organisation University of Leicester
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We are leading the development of the Next Generation Transit Survey (NGTS), which is a project aiming to discover small planets around bright stars using an array of robotic telescopes at the ESO Paranal site in Chile. We initiated the project with an institutional investment of £300k, and have been joined by 5 partner institutes all making comparable financial investments. At Warwick we have purchased key components of the facility (including CCD cameras and telescope mounts), led site negotiations with ESO, and we are leading the development of the observatory control and data analysis software. In the operational phase of the project, with support from STFC, we will carrying out the data analysis and lead the search for new planets in NGTS data.
Collaborator Contribution Geneva - have purchased key equipment and led the mechanical and optical design of the telescope array. DLR - have purchased CCD cameras and contributed to the development of data analysis software. Leicester - have purchased CCD cameras and computing hardware and led the calibration of the CCD cameras. Cavendish - have purchased key equipment and provided staff support for the installation of the facility in Chile. Belfast - developed a prototype instrument for La Palma that demonstrated the scientific feasibility of the survey.
Impact Primary output will be the discovery and characterisation of new exoplanets (published in peer reviewed journals). The NGTS data will also be made publicly available through the ESO data archive. Our collaboration with the manufacturer of our CCD cameras (Andor) has resulted in a new camera product and an improved understanding of CCD camera stability.
Start Year 2009
 
Description Planet evaporation collaboration 
Organisation Paris Institute of Astrophysics
Country France 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We work together on a series of space telescope observations of evaporating exoplanets, primarily Hubble Space Telescope, Chandra and XMM-Newton. This has resulted in a series of papers in which we investigate the physical conditions driving planet evaporation. The Warwick contribution has been to lead observations of the X-ray irradiation of the planets, thought to drive planetary evaporation.
Collaborator Contribution Paris and Geneva bring expertise in high precision observations with the Hubble Space Telescope, which is necessary to detect the resulting mass loss from the exoplanets.
Impact Five papers to date in refereed journals (listed separately) including one on Nature and further observations with Hubble, Chandra and XMM-Newton scheduled.
Start Year 2011
 
Description Planet evaporation collaboration 
Organisation University of Geneva
Country Switzerland 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We work together on a series of space telescope observations of evaporating exoplanets, primarily Hubble Space Telescope, Chandra and XMM-Newton. This has resulted in a series of papers in which we investigate the physical conditions driving planet evaporation. The Warwick contribution has been to lead observations of the X-ray irradiation of the planets, thought to drive planetary evaporation.
Collaborator Contribution Paris and Geneva bring expertise in high precision observations with the Hubble Space Telescope, which is necessary to detect the resulting mass loss from the exoplanets.
Impact Five papers to date in refereed journals (listed separately) including one on Nature and further observations with Hubble, Chandra and XMM-Newton scheduled.
Start Year 2011
 
Description WASP Consortium 
Organisation Keele University
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The WASP project searches for exoplanets around bright stars using the transit technique. Warwick hosts the WASP Data Centre, where data from telescopes in South Africa and La Palma are analysed. We play a leading role in the discovery and characterisation of planets discovered with WASP.
Collaborator Contribution Keele leads the operations and data reduction for the facility in South Africa. St Andews led development of the WASP data reduction pipeline. Leicester originally hosted the WASP Data Centre and purchased much of the computing equipment. Queen's Belfast led the development of the instrument design (although the Belfast PI Pollacco has since moved to Warwick). Geneva have contributed telescope time for confirmation of exoplanets. The Open University contributed CCD cameras and has led some WASP follow up observations.
Impact WASP is the world-leading project for the discovery of giant transiting exoplanets. It has resulted in the publication hundreds of refereed journal articles, listed separately.
 
Description WASP Consortium 
Organisation Open University
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The WASP project searches for exoplanets around bright stars using the transit technique. Warwick hosts the WASP Data Centre, where data from telescopes in South Africa and La Palma are analysed. We play a leading role in the discovery and characterisation of planets discovered with WASP.
Collaborator Contribution Keele leads the operations and data reduction for the facility in South Africa. St Andews led development of the WASP data reduction pipeline. Leicester originally hosted the WASP Data Centre and purchased much of the computing equipment. Queen's Belfast led the development of the instrument design (although the Belfast PI Pollacco has since moved to Warwick). Geneva have contributed telescope time for confirmation of exoplanets. The Open University contributed CCD cameras and has led some WASP follow up observations.
Impact WASP is the world-leading project for the discovery of giant transiting exoplanets. It has resulted in the publication hundreds of refereed journal articles, listed separately.
 
Description WASP Consortium 
Organisation Queen's University Belfast
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The WASP project searches for exoplanets around bright stars using the transit technique. Warwick hosts the WASP Data Centre, where data from telescopes in South Africa and La Palma are analysed. We play a leading role in the discovery and characterisation of planets discovered with WASP.
Collaborator Contribution Keele leads the operations and data reduction for the facility in South Africa. St Andews led development of the WASP data reduction pipeline. Leicester originally hosted the WASP Data Centre and purchased much of the computing equipment. Queen's Belfast led the development of the instrument design (although the Belfast PI Pollacco has since moved to Warwick). Geneva have contributed telescope time for confirmation of exoplanets. The Open University contributed CCD cameras and has led some WASP follow up observations.
Impact WASP is the world-leading project for the discovery of giant transiting exoplanets. It has resulted in the publication hundreds of refereed journal articles, listed separately.
 
Description WASP Consortium 
Organisation University of Geneva
Country Switzerland 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The WASP project searches for exoplanets around bright stars using the transit technique. Warwick hosts the WASP Data Centre, where data from telescopes in South Africa and La Palma are analysed. We play a leading role in the discovery and characterisation of planets discovered with WASP.
Collaborator Contribution Keele leads the operations and data reduction for the facility in South Africa. St Andews led development of the WASP data reduction pipeline. Leicester originally hosted the WASP Data Centre and purchased much of the computing equipment. Queen's Belfast led the development of the instrument design (although the Belfast PI Pollacco has since moved to Warwick). Geneva have contributed telescope time for confirmation of exoplanets. The Open University contributed CCD cameras and has led some WASP follow up observations.
Impact WASP is the world-leading project for the discovery of giant transiting exoplanets. It has resulted in the publication hundreds of refereed journal articles, listed separately.
 
Description WASP Consortium 
Organisation University of Leicester
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The WASP project searches for exoplanets around bright stars using the transit technique. Warwick hosts the WASP Data Centre, where data from telescopes in South Africa and La Palma are analysed. We play a leading role in the discovery and characterisation of planets discovered with WASP.
Collaborator Contribution Keele leads the operations and data reduction for the facility in South Africa. St Andews led development of the WASP data reduction pipeline. Leicester originally hosted the WASP Data Centre and purchased much of the computing equipment. Queen's Belfast led the development of the instrument design (although the Belfast PI Pollacco has since moved to Warwick). Geneva have contributed telescope time for confirmation of exoplanets. The Open University contributed CCD cameras and has led some WASP follow up observations.
Impact WASP is the world-leading project for the discovery of giant transiting exoplanets. It has resulted in the publication hundreds of refereed journal articles, listed separately.
 
Description WASP Consortium 
Organisation University of St Andrews
Department School of Physics and Astronomy
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The WASP project searches for exoplanets around bright stars using the transit technique. Warwick hosts the WASP Data Centre, where data from telescopes in South Africa and La Palma are analysed. We play a leading role in the discovery and characterisation of planets discovered with WASP.
Collaborator Contribution Keele leads the operations and data reduction for the facility in South Africa. St Andews led development of the WASP data reduction pipeline. Leicester originally hosted the WASP Data Centre and purchased much of the computing equipment. Queen's Belfast led the development of the instrument design (although the Belfast PI Pollacco has since moved to Warwick). Geneva have contributed telescope time for confirmation of exoplanets. The Open University contributed CCD cameras and has led some WASP follow up observations.
Impact WASP is the world-leading project for the discovery of giant transiting exoplanets. It has resulted in the publication hundreds of refereed journal articles, listed separately.
 
Description Appearance of BBC Breakfast and 5Live 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact The main headline TV and radio intereviews by Andrew Levan in respect of the discovery of the electromagnetic counterpart of gravitational waves.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description ESO press conference: Multi-messenger Astronomy 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Andrew Levan presented our results highlighting the discovery of the first electromagnetic counterpart to a gravitational wave source at the European Southern Observatory in Munich. The event was watched live by over 7000 people and rapidly accured 70,000 views on YouTube. It directly led to apperences on BBC Breakfast and 5Live to discuss the science behind the results.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ISr4juIkDg
 
Description Gravitational waves workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Visits to schools by Prof Andrew Levan to deliver a day-long event investigating the nature of gravitational waves with hands on programming experience.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.astro.warwick.ac.uk/biggestbangs
 
Description Hubble release gravitational waves 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Andrew Levan led the first observations of the gravitational wave detected binary neutron star merger with the Hubble Space Telescope. The image created from these images was one of the most widely used in discussing the event in the media. It had 3180 press clippings reporting the result.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.spacetelescope.org/news/heic1717/
 
Description Interview for BBC Earth podcast 
Form Of Engagement Activity A broadcast e.g. TV/radio/film/podcast (other than news/press)
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact I gave an interview about my work on detecting weather systems on planets outside the solar system for the BBC Earth Podcast. This was for a general audience, and also included a description of planets in the solar system, and my predictions for future developments in the field.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Media Interview - podcast 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact An interview that was broadcast as a podcast
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://starspotpodcast.com/2017/07/23/building-on-gravitational-wave-astronomy-danny-steeghs/
 
Description Planetarium Shows 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Our mobile planetarium tours local schools at a rate of ~2 per week and provides shows to ages 4-18 as well as the opportunity to ask questions of scientists.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017,2018
 
Description Planetarium visit to Big Bang Fair at Leicester Grammar School - Feb 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact We used out STFC-funded mobile planetarium to present our STFC-funded research on exoplanet detection and characterisation to a total audience of around 400 members of the general public at the Big Bang Science Fair held at Leicester Grammar School.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://nearme.thebigbangfair.co.uk/view/?eve_id=1970
 
Description Press release on pre-MS stellar flare 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Press release on a remarkably energetic stellar flare detected from a young star that is likely to influence the formation of planets.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://warwick.ac.uk/newsandevents/pressreleases/baby_stars_fiery
 
Description Press release on the discovery of the "monster planet" NGTS-1b 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Press release announcing the first exoplanet detected with the STFC-funded NGTS project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://warwick.ac.uk/newsandevents/pressreleases/monster_planet_discovery/
 
Description Press release on the possibility of liquid water on the Earth-sized planets in the TRAPPIST-1 system 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Press release on the possibility of liquid water and hence a habitable environment on the Earth-sized planets of the TRAPPIST-1 system.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://warwick.ac.uk/newsandevents/pressreleases/earth-sized_planets_forty/
 
Description Reddit AskScience AMA session on gravitational wave discovery 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Joe Lyman participated in a Reddit AskScience "Ask Me Anything" post on our involvement in the discovery of the first multi-messenger gravitational wave source, as part of the European Southern Observatory. The platform allows the general public to ask questions and provide comments directly to scientists. The intention was to engage with harder-to-reach sections of the public that may not already harbour an interest in Science, and are thus less likely to attend or participate in traditional outreach activities (e.g. talks, presentations). Removing the media barrier allowed for proper interaction between the Scientists and the public, to clarify discussion, and provide a more personal, and thus more impactful, response to their inquiries. The post attracted hundreds of questions and was view by thousands.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.reddit.com/r/askscience/comments/76ne3p/askscience_ama_series_european_southern/
 
Description Schools talk 2018/19 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact This is a catch all for 7 public talks ranging from a school in a deprived area, to talks to postgraduate/undergraduate clubs at university.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018,2019
 
Description Science week assemblies - King Edward VI school Stratford 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact A series of assemblies delivered by Andrew Levan as part of National Science Week 2018.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Talk to Melton Astronomical Society - May 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Talk on exoplanets to a local astronomical society.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Talk to Nottingham Astronomical Society 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact This was a talk on the NGTS project and my wider astronomical research on exoplanets to the Nottingham Astronomical Society hosted by the British Geological Survey.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Talk to Warwick Astrosoc - Nov 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact Talk on the habitability of exoplanets to the Astronomy Society at the University of Warwick.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description TalkRADIO interview 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Interview on James Whale Radio show about PLATO/UKSA and alien life. This was a 15min discussion about PLATO (its funding and science)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description WOMAD 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Delivery of gravitational waves results to a large audience at the WOMAD festival in 2018.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Warwick Christmas Lecture 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The Warwick Christmas Lecture 2018, entitled "Out of this world" was delivered by 3 Warwick Astronomers, Ann-Marie Broomhall, Dan Bayliss and Andrew Levan. It presented much of the current research in Warwick surrouding solar physics, exoplanets and extragalactic astronomy, aimed at audiences from 8-80 and packed with practical demonstrations (both in the lecture and outside). It was delivered to ~1200 people on 3 Dec 2018.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.warwickartscentre.co.uk/whats-on/2018/warwick-christmas-lectures-2018-out-of-this-world/