New frontiers in exoplanetary and stellar astrophysics with Australian observational facilities

Rob Wittenmyer
University of Southern Queensland (Australia)
Tuesday, September 10, 2019
4:00 pm
RH 142
* Note Special Location
MINERVA-Australis at the University of Southern Queensland's Mount Kent Observatory is the only southern hemisphere precise radial velocity facility wholly dedicated to follow-up of TESS planets.  Mass measurements of these planets are critically necessary to maximise the scientific impact of the TESS mission, to understand the composition of exoplanets and the transition between rocky and gaseous worlds.  MINERVA-Australis is a partnership between MIT, UNSW Australia, George Mason University, University of Louisville, Nanjing University, UC-Riverside, University of Texas, and the University of Florida.  The array is now fully operational, with five 0.7m telescopes in place.  I give an overview and update of operations, and I present our precise radial velocity results and orbital solutions for several TESS planets.

The Stellar Observations Network Group (SONG) is establishing a node at Mount Kent. SONG-Australia will complete the global longitude coverage, delivering breakthroughs in fundamental understanding of the interiors of stars for decades to come. SONG-Australia is designed on a "MINERVA" model, whereby fibres from multiple small telescopes feed a single high-resolution spectrograph. This approach provides expandability and reduces cost by using factory-built components that have been well-tested by the MINERVA teams. As a result of these innovations, SONG-Australia is expected to be fully operational by early 2020.

Paul Robertson