The study of exoplanets is a rapidly moving field at the forefront of astrophysics. The Astronomy Discipline is working to find important new exoplanets, including Proxima b which was widely hailed as one of the most important science discoveries of 2016. We also perform multiwavelength follow-up studies of established planets, consider habitability in novel contexts, and model exoplanetary atmospheres and interiors.
We are members of the SuperWASP, PLATO, ARIEL and PaleRedDot consortia, and lead the Dispersed Matter Planet Project (DMPP) which has identified a key population of rocky exoplanets orbiting bright nearby stars. Our exoplanets researchers frequently use competitively awarded telescopes including the Hubble Space Telescope, precision spectrographs HARPS and UVES and we also use our share of the 10-metre Southern African large Telescope and our own PIRATE and COAST telescopes on the island of Tenerife.
The group closely collaborates with the department's planetary science and space instrumentation groups, especially in the areas of exoplanet compositions, planetary atmospheres, habitability and dust from catastrophically disintegrating planets like Kepler 1502b.