research: current research includes exoplanet
detection using the
microlensing effect as well as optical and infrared time-domain
surveys of our Galaxy and its neighbours.
Microlensing is one of the key exoplanet detection methods being used to find cooler low-mass exoplanets in regions around their hosts where some theories suggest most planets are formed. I am helping to design space-based microlensing exoplanet surveys which will enable us to explore the cool exoplanet regime with a precision similar to what the Kepler mission has brought to the study of hot exoplanets. I am the UK lead and European co-lead of the Exoplanet Science Working Group (SWG) for the ESA EUCLID mission. Euclid is primarily a cosmology mission which will allow cosmologists to probe the nature of dark energy. However, the exoplanet SWG is currently evaluating the possibility of a cool exoplanet discovery programme as a Euclid additional science activity. The census of cool exoplanets which Euclid could undertake will enable a much more complete understanding of exoplanetary architectures and potential habitability, and also help us to better understand the process of planet formation.
I am also involved in the largest survey of near-infrared variable sources within our Galaxy. The VVV project aims to monitor up to 10 million variable sources over five years using the VISTA telescope in Chile. It is one of six ESO Public Surveys using VISTA. By exploiting the relative transparency of our Galaxy at near infrared wavelengths VVV will be able to use the distribution of variable stars to map the structure of the inner Galaxy in three dimensions. It will also provide a more complete understanding of a wide range of astrophysical systems such as the globular cluster population, eclipsing binary systems, high propoer motion objects and stellar microlensing events.
|teaching: I am writing a new 3rd-year undergraduate course on exoplanets (PHYS31692) and I am also Tutor of the 3rd-year Physics Lab (PHYS30181/30280/40580).|
I am an astrophysicist and lecturer based at the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics, part of the School of Physics & Astronomy within the Faculty of Engineering & Physical Sciences at the University of Manchester.
09 Dec 2014
by Eamonn Kerins