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Welcome to the Website of Dr. Brett Addison


Welcome to my WWW homepage! My name is Dr. Brett Addison and I am a postdoctoral research astronomer at Mississippi State University (MSU) in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. I am working on the Starchive Open Access Stellar Database with Dr. Angelle Tanner as well as measuring the spin-orbit alignments of extrasolar planetary systems. I obtained my PhD in astronomy at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Department of Astrophysics and Optics (School of Physics) in April 2015. During my PhD at UNSW, I was a member of the exoplanetary science group and was also associated with the Australian Centre for Astrobiology (ACA).

My research at MSU involves developing the Starchive Open Access Stellar and Planetary Database. This has involved collecting metadata and writing API scripts in Python to upload data to the archive that has been created in PostgreSQL. Starchive will host all the useful observable stellar metadata (e.g., photometry, vsini, radial velocities, distances, proper motions, metallicities, activity indices, etc.) and derived physical parameters (e.g., mass, radii, luminosity, age, etc.) astronomers need to plan observing proposals, prepare for an observing run, or complete tables for a paper. Additionally, the database will contain high contrast imaging, infrared and optical spectra, and light curves.

Starchive is nearing the beta testing stage (early 2018). The goal of the Starchive is to provide a useful resource to the astronomical community to support current and future exoplanet and stellar research programs. To accomplish this goal, the database will be easy to use, data will be downloadable in usable formats, plotting tools will be available to vizualize data content, and the community will be able to contribute content directly to the archive and police it for accuracy.

My other research project at MSU is measuring the spin-orbit alignments of planetary systems as part of the Stellar Obliquities and Planetary Alignments (SOPA) project. I am collaborating with Dr. Songhu Wang, Prof. Debra Fischer, Prof. John M. Brewer and Prof. Gregory Laughlin at Yale University and Dr. Marshall Johnson at Ohio State University on this project. Our aim is to determine the processes involved in the formation of planets and the mechanisms driving planetary migration and spin-orbit misalignments. To accomplish these goals, I am utilizing large ground based telescopes and highly stablized spectrographs such as the High Resolution Spectrograph (HIRES) on the Keck I telescope in Hawaii, CHIRON spectrograph on the SMARTS telescope in Cerro Tololo, Chile, and the Veloce spectrograph on the Anglo-Australian Telescope at Siding Spring, Australia to obtain high precision radial velocities of the Rossiter-McLaughlin effect for transiting planets.

I have published papers on the spin-orbit alignments of five transiting hot Jupiters, co-author on a paper measuring the spin-orbit alignment of Kepler-9 (a multi-transiting planetary system) using Keck Doppler spectroscopy observations, and I will be submitting a paper on three additional systems in a couple of weeks.

For more details on my work, please check out my research page. In addition, you can read about my personal and professional interests and news, as well as any classes that I teach and outreach activities.



The ultimate goal of exoplanetary science is to one day answer the most fundamental question proposed by humankind: Is there life on other planets? Image credit: Luciano S. Méndez.

News & Updates

  • Paper on Spin-orbit Alignments for Three Transiting Hot Jupiters Submitted Soon!

    24 January 2018 - I will be submitting a paper in the next couple weeks on the spin-orbit angles of three Jovian planets, two of which are highly misaligned! Keep an eye out for it.

  • Papers on Relocating the Kepler-9b Transit & Measuring the Spin–Orbit Angle for Kepler-9

    24 January 2018 - Co-author on two papers involving the Kepler-9 multiplanet system. The first paper we relocated the Kepler-9b transit and the second paper we measured the spin-orbit angle for Kepler-9b using HIRES RV measurements on Keck. The papers can be found here and here, repectively.

  • Paper on Spin-Orbit Misalignments of Three Jovian Planets via Doppler Tomography

    08 October 2017 - Co-author on paper measuring the spin-orbit alignments of three Jovian planets using the Doppler tomography technique that's published in AJ. The paper can be found here.

  • Paper on Spin-orbit Alignment for Three Transiting Hot Jupiters: WASP-103b, WASP-87b, and WASP-66b

    12 May 2016 - Paper on measuring the spin-orbit alignments of WASP-103b, WASP-87b, and WASP-66b has now been accepted and published in ApJ. The arXiv paper can be viewed here or the published ApJ version can be obtained here.

  • Started Postdoc Position at Mississippi State University

    16 December 2015 - I have just started a postdoctoral position at Mississippi State University to work on developing the Starchive Open Access Stellar and Planetary Database with Dr. Angelle Tanner.