This week, I used to be in Edinburgh for the UK Exoplanet Assembly 2022 (UKExom22, for brief) the place I offered particulars of the undertaking and the outcomes so removed from Planet Hunters NGTS, together with particulars on our 4 new planet candidates. This was a possibility to showcase the sensible work of the Planet Hunters NGTS volunteers to an viewers of over 100 exoplanet astronomers based mostly within the UK, in addition to an opportunity to satisfy (in some circumstances for the primary time!) and converse with members of the NGTS group who’ve been working arduous to assist us vet the most effective candidates from the undertaking and coordinate follow-up observations.
The primary day of talks included some thrilling outcomes from the brand new JWST mission in addition to methods being employed to attempt to detect Earth-analogues that are presently tough to search out resulting from stellar exercise! Later within the afternoon, I gave a 12-minute presentation describing why citizen science is so nice, how Planet Hunters NGTS works and what we all know up to now about our new planet candidates. There was loads of curiosity within the undertaking from the viewers who have been impressed by each the keenness of the Planet Hunters NGTS volunteers and the very fact we have already got 4 new planet candidates from our very preliminary evaluation.
Day two of the convention began with extra fascinating talks together with listening to concerning the present standing of the PLATO mission and the outcomes of the ASTEP telescopes which are serving to the hunt for exoplanets at an observatory out in Antarctica! The relaxed schedule of the afternoon supplied the chance for me to satisfy with one other member of the Planet Hunters NGTS group, Sam Gill, who can match the NGTS knowledge with higher fashions than the preliminary search to offer us with extra correct estimates of the planetary radius. Beneath is a picture of the output of Sam’s work, displaying extra plots of every transit and the section folded mild curve fitted with a extra correct mannequin. I used to be additionally in a position to converse with Matt Burleigh and Alicia Kendall, collaborators from NGTS who obtained extra photometry of a few of our candidates mentioned within the earlier weblog submit and can be capable to mix knowledge from a number of knowledge sources to offer us with a extra correct radius estimate for Topic 69654531.
It’s not all about science at a convention as Tuesday night noticed many make the brief trek up Blackford Hill which is dwelling to the Royal Observatory Edinburgh and gives glorious views of Edinburgh Fortress, Arthur’s Seat and the sunshine on Leith. The convention dinner and a visit to a Karaoke bar that had a lot of astronomers trying to sing Bohemian Rhapsody capped the second day of the convention.
The ultimate day of the convention included talks on improved methods for measuring the radial velocity of stars which can enable extra correct measurements of exoplanets and the primary direct detection of planetary materials being accreted by a white dwarf. This discovery was made by detecting 5 (sure, solely 5!) X-ray photons being emitted by a white dwarf which was then decided to be resulting from remnants of a planet falling into the environment of the white dwarf.
That delivered to an finish my first in-person UK Exoplanet Assembly and I’m already trying ahead to subsequent 12 months’s assembly that will likely be hosted by UCL in London! Within the meantime, I’ll be vetting extra candidates from the undertaking and coordinating follow-up observations in addition to contemplating making use of for extra observing time that might doubtlessly assist us get nearer to validating or confirming a number of the candidates already talked about or any others that we discover within the coming months. Control the weblog to remain tuned!