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Welcome to the Website of Dr. Brett Addison

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Welcome to my WWW homepage! My name is Dr. Brett Addison and I am a Research Fellow in Astrophysics at the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) in the Centre for Astrophysics. I am working 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.

Previously 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).

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.

The first planets to be discovered outside the Solar System were Jupiter mass planets on < 10 day orbits, the so-called hot Jupiters. Hundreds of these planets have been found, but how did they form and migrate to their current orbits? Also why are nearly 30% of them on highly misaligned orbits relative to their host star's equator? To answer these questions, 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, the Minerva-Australis Telescope array, and the Veloce spectrograph on the Anglo-Australian Telescope at Siding Spring, Australia to obtain high precision radial velocities of the Rossiter-McLaughlin effect during transits for transiting planets.

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.

 

 

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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

  • Transiting Hot Jupiter and a Cold Massive Giant Planet Found by HATSouth Around a Sun-like Star

    15 November 2018 - Co-author on another HATSouth planet discovery paper. This paper reports on the discovery of HATS-59b,c: A Transiting Hot Jupiter and a Cold Massive Giant Planet around a Sun-like Star. The papers can be found here.

  • Stellar Obliquities and Planetary Alignments (SOPA) Paper Published

    01 November 2018 - Paper published on a project I started on measuring spin-orbit angles of planetary systems. Included in the paper are spin-orbit alignment measurements of three Jovian planets (WASP-72b, WASP-100b, and WASP-109b), two of which are highly misaligned (WASP-100b and WASP-109b)! The papers can be found here.

  • First Hot Jupiter Discovered by TESS, HD 202772Ab!

    15 October 2018 - Co-author on paper with the first confirmation of a hot Jupiter discovered by TESS known as HD 202772Ab! The papers can be found here.

  • Ten Transiting Planets From HATSouth

    15 September 2018 - Co-author on paper with 10 new planet discoveries from the HATSouth transiting planet survey. The papers can be found here.

  • Started New Postdoc Position at University of Southern Queensland

    13 August 2018 - I have just started a postdoctoral Research Fellow in Astrophysics position at the University of Southern Queensland to find and characterise new exoplanets using the Minerva-Australis Telescope array with Prof. Rob Wittenymer.