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  • Minerva-Australis Telescope Array FacilityMinerva-Australis is a facility for discovering new exoplanets, working closely with the NASA TESS mission.
  • One of the Minerva-Australis Telescopes
  • Minerva-Australis AstroHaven Domes
  • Minerva-Australis PlaneWave CDK-700 Telescope
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  • WASP-79b, a planet on a polar orbit
  • Spectroscopy with Minerva-AustralisHigh-resolution spectroscopy and radial velocities used to discover exoplanets.
  • Minerva-Australis Dome and Telescope
  • css slideshowTransiting exoplanet survey of the whole sky to discover new planets.
  • 2024 Solar Eclipse
Minerva-Australis Telescope Array Facility1 One of the Minerva-Australis Telescopes2 Minerva-Australis AstroHaven Domes3 Minerva-Australis PlaneWave CDK-700 Telescope4 Minerva-Australis Logo5 WASP-79b, a planet on a polar orbit6 Spectroscopy with Minerva-Australis7 Minerva-Australis Dome and Telescope8 NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS)9 2024 Solar Eclipse10
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Welcome to the personal website of Dr. Brett Addison


Welcome to my astronomy homepage! My name is Dr. Brett Addison and I am an astronomer associated with Swinburne University of Technology and the University of Southern Queensland as an adjunct research fellow. I am currently in the process of transitioning my career from astronomy/astrophysics into data science. As such, I suspect I will not be updating this website very much if at all but will keep it active for those interested in the research work I did as an astronomer. I do plan on building another website for the work that I do as a data scientist.

My most recent position in astronomy was at Swinburne University of Technology as a Postdoctoral Research Associate from November 2022 until December 2023. I worked with (and continue to work with as an adjunct) Prof. Michael Murphy in the Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing on a project aimed at very precisely measuring (~100s parts per billion) any variation in the fine structure constant α, which governs the strength of the electromagnetic force, across the Milky Way galaxy using giant stars. More specifically, we are obtaining high-resolution spectra of bright gaint (red clump) stars at distances of up to 8kpc towards the galactic center to measure Δα/α where dark matter is at its highest density. The motivation behind this project is to test 'Beyond-Standard' theories of physics that predict α varies as a function of dark matter density. In conjunction with this project, I am also using a differential equivalent width technique on the spectra of giant stars to try to identify specific spectral features that can be used to distinguish between red clump and RGB stars (stellar evolutionary stages that can overlap on color-magnitude diagrams), important for identifying a 'clean' sample of red clump stars to use for measuring Δα/α.

Prior to my postdoc position at Swinburne, I was a Research Fellow in Astrophysics at the University of Southern Queensland (UniSQ) in the Centre for Astrophysics from August 2018 until July 2022. At UniSQ, I worked with Prof. Rob Wittenmyer and his team of international collaborators on discovering new exoplanets using the recently built Minerva-Australis telescope array located at the Mt. Kent Observatory about 20km south of USQ in Queensland, Australia. My research at USQ involves the detection and characterization of exoplanets. I am using the Minerva-Australis telescope array to carry out radial velocity (RV) follow-up observations of transiting planet candidates found by the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS). These observations will confirm new TESS planets and measure their bulk properties such as mass, density, and orbital eccentricity. In particular, the Minerva-Australis collaboration is focused on following-up small planets (< 4 Earth radii) orbiting bright stars (V < 11). TESS is expected to find hundreds of such small planets suitable for follow-up observations.

In addition to confirming and measuring the bulk properties of exoplanets, I am also measuring the spin-orbit alignments of planetary systems as part of the Stellar Obliquities and Planetary Alignments (SOPA) project. I am collaborating with the Minerva team along 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.

Prior to UniSQ, I was a postdoctoral research astronomer at Mississippi State University (MSU) in the Department of Physics and Astronomy working on the Starchive Open Access Stellar Database with Dr. Angelle Tanner.

I completed my PhD in astrophysics 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).

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 one of the most fundamental and intriguing question proposed by humankind: Is there life on other planets? Image credit: Luciano S. Méndez.

News & Updates

  • Paper on the Discovery of the Hot Jupiter Orbiting the Rapid Rotator TOI-778

    10 May 2023 - Paper on the recent discovery of the hot Jupiter TOI-778b that orbits a rapidly rotating star. The papers can be found here. I did an interview with 7News Toowoomba on the discovery of this planet, which can be accessed here.

  • Started New Postdoc Position at Swinburne

    07 November 2022 - I have just moved to Swinburne as a Postdoctoral Research Associate working with Prof. Michael Murphy on measuring variations in the fine structure constant α using high-resolution spectra of giant stars.

  • Discovery of the Second Hottest Ultrahot Jupiter & Measurement of its Orbital Obliquity & Atmosphere!

    01 December 2021 - I led the discovery of the ultrahot Jupiter TOI-1431b/MASCARA-5b, the second hottest measured nightside temperature of ~2600K! I also contributed to measurements of the planet's orbital obliquity and atmosphere. The papers can be found here and here. An animation I created of TOI-1431b can be found here.

  • Measured the Orbital Obliquity of AU Mic b, the Youngest Planet to have such a Measurement!

    01 October 2021 - I led the effort to measure the spin-orbit alignment of the youngest planet ever! This planet is AU Mic b, a ~20Myr Neptune-sized planet. The paper can be found here. A 7News Toowoomba piece on this planet's discovery can be found here.

  • Paper on the Aligned Orbit of an Eccentric Warm Jupiter K2-232b

    01 August 2021 - A paper on the measurement of the orbital obliquity of an eccentric warm Jupiter, K2-232b. The paper can be found here.

  • My First Exoplanet Discovery Led Paper on TOI-257b, A Warm Sub-Saturn Planet!

    01 December 2020 - A paper I led on the discovery of the transiting exoplanet TOI-257b using the Minerva-Australis telescope! The paper can be found here. A short 15 minute presentation on YouTube on the discovery of this planet can be accessed here. 7News Toowoomba interviewed me on the discovery of this planet found here.