Exoplanets: tracing the shared evolution of stars and their planetary systems


Fri, 15 Oct 2021, 03:00 pm - 04:00 pm
Fall 2021
Dr. Brad Carter
University of Southern Queensland


Astrophysics research at the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) aims to improve understanding of the shared evolution of stars and their planetary systems. This is because the host star profoundly impacts the formation, evolution and habitability of their planetary system, and observing stellar magnetic activity can help us confirm and characterise exoplanets and infer the histories of planetary systems including our own. Key research projects at USQ include the Shared Skies Partnership with the University of Louisville that supports the use of Mt Kent Observatory in Queensland, Australia, for photometric observations of exoplanet transits and MINERVA-Australis radial velocity spectroscopy for the NASA TESS exoplanet survey mission. The Mt Kent site also has a new SONG stellar seismology node that can characterise exoplanet host stars. USQ participates in Australia’s GALAH galactic archaeology stellar spectroscopic survey with the 3.9m Anglo-Australian Telescope (AAT) at Siding Spring, and in the international BCool collaboration studying cool star magnetic fields, stellar activity, dynamos, winds, exoplanets around active young stars, and exoplanetary space weather. Looking to the future, stellar and exoplanet research will be combined using the AAT’s Veloce spectrograph and its forthcoming RAPTOR auxiliary telescope, and USQ has joined the international Twinkle Space Mission consortium planning a space telescope survey combining stellar and exoplanet atmosphere studies.