Univ. ManchesterEPSPhysics & AstronomyJodrell BankIntranet

current/upcoming projects

Space-based microlensing detection of cool exoplanets. At Manchester we are world leaders in the development of detailed microlensing simulation models. Together with my former PhD student, Matthew Penny, and a formar Manchester postdoc, Nick Rattenbury, we developed the Manchester-Besancon Microlensing Simulator (MaBuLs) using the Besancon Galactic Model developed by Annie Robin (Besancon) and collaborators. This is currently the most advanced survey simulator of exoplanet microlensing. It is being used by the ESA Euclid Exoplanet Science Working Group, which I co-lead, to evaluate the potential of the Euclid dark energy mission to undertake a survey of cool exoplanets as an additional science activity to its main cosmology science programme. Euclid is now under construction and is expected to launch around 2020. The Exoplanet Euclid Legacy Survey (ExELS) could provide a census of coool exoplanets with a comparable precision to that made possible by the Kepler transit mission for hot exoplanets. This would allow a much more complete understanding of exoplanetary architectures and potential habitability, and also help us to better understand the process of planet formation. A cool exoplanet microlensuing survey is also one of the main science goals for NASA's WFIRST mission, which could launch within a few years of Euclid. MaBuLs is also being used by the NASA WFIRST Science Definition Team to evaluate the capabilities of different reference designs for that mission.

(Preprints/papers from this project)

Synthetic microlensing models. Together with Annie Robin and Doug Marshall, I constructed the most detailed theoretical simulation to date of the distribution of microlensing events towards the inner Galaxy, where the vast majority of events have been detected. The simulation is based upon the Besancon synthetic model of the Galaxy, and incorporates a full 3D map of interstellar extinction. Synthetic microlensing maps like these will be crucial to exploit fully the large microlensing datasets now becoming available for constraining the 3D structure of the inner Galaxy. Wer are currently refining this model using the latest version of the Besancon model together with the latest observational maps of microlensing from the MOA and OGLE microlensing survey teams.

(Preprints/papers from this project)

VVV. I am a member of the Science Team for the Vista Variables in the Via Lactea (VVV) survey. VVV is large Public Survey to be undertaken on VISTA, the World's largest infrared (IR) telescope, which is due to see first light from Paranal, Chile, in 2009. VVV will repeatedly survey around 300 sq. degrees of the Galactic Bulge and a further 200 sq. degrees of the disk in several IR filters. Its primary science driver is to map the 3D distribution of the inner Galaxy using RR Lyrae variable stars, which act as reliable distance indicators at IR wavelengths.

(Preprints/papers from this project)

Extra-solar planet detection. I have been a member of the RoboNet and MiNDSTEp microlensing follow-up teams. Both teams look for extra-solar planets using the microlensing effect.

(Preprint/papers from the project)

Last updated
22 Nov 2013
by Eamonn Kerins