Andrew Collier Cameron is Professor of Astronomy at the University of St Andrews. Prior to moving to St Andrews in 1995, he was a researcher and lecturer at the University of Sussex. A New Zealander by birth, he obtained his PhD at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand in 1983. He is a leading member of the WASP and HARPS-N consortia for detecting and characterising extrasolar planets by transits and radial velocity. He is the UK Co-Investigator on the CHEOPS mission, with responsibility for developing the data-analysis toolkit that will extract planet sizes from mission data. His other research interests include the study of activity such as starspots on cool stars, and their impact on exoplanet detection.
Cheops and the new science of exoplanets
Friday 31st January 2020: Session Two
We live on a rocky planet whose surface has been partially covered with a shallow ocean of liquid water for 4.6 Gyr. How much fine tuning does it take to build such a world? Determining an exoplanet’s bulk composition needs precise measurements of both its mass (from the radial-velocity wobble method pioneered by 2019 Nobel prizewinners Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz) and its radius. The Swiss-led ESA mission CHEOPS was launched on 18 December 2019. It will soon be returning precise measurements of the radii of new planet discoveries from NASA’s TESS mission, and looking for transits of known small planets found in Doppler-wobble surveys from the ground. This talk will review where we stand in finding and characterising small exoplanets, highlighting the role that CHEOPS will play in helping us to understand how the formation and evolution processes determine a planet’s final structure.