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Yale Astronomy


December 2, 2014 - In a paper that has just been accepted for publication by the Astrophysical Journal, Yale Postdoc Ji Wang tackles the mystery of hot Jupiters. "Hot Jupiters" are a category of planets approximately the size of "Jupiter" and are very "hot" due to the proximity to their host stars. The two major detection techniques (Doppler measurements and transits) find different occurrence rates for these easily detected planets. After accounting for differences in environmentental factors of the two samples, (stellar metallicity, multiplicity rate and evolutionary stage) Dr. Wang finds that the discrepancy can be resolved.

November 25, 2014 - The Front End Module for the Spectrograph the Yale Exoplanets Group is building for the Moletai Astrophysical Observatory has officially passed the design review stage. Parts are now being fabricated and the team is operating ahead of schedule. For more information on the MAO Spectrograph check out the MAO Page.

November 20, 2014 - Stellar diameters and temperatures for two of the most well-studied exoplanet hosting stars, HD 189733 and HD 209458, have been measured with unprecedented precision using the CHARA array and accepted for publication. the paper, lead by Yale Exoplanet Group postdoctoral fellow Tabby Boyajian, can be viewed on astro-ph.

November 16, 2014 - A bounty of exoplanets has been discovered from the N2K planet search, lead by Yale Exoplanet Group graduate student Matt Giguere. The results have been accepted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal. NASA ADS Paper Page.

October 29, 2014 - In a paper submitted to the Astronomical Journal and posted on astro-ph , Yale exoplanet postdoctoral fellow Ji Wang has uncovered a correlation between small planet occurrence rates and the metal abundance in a star system. Conventionally, astronomers refer to metals as elements heavier than Hydrogen and Helium. The correlation, namely the planet-metallicity correlation, was already known for large planets with sizes similar to that of the Jupiter. Dr. Wang finds that such correlations exist not only for large planets but also for planets as small as the Earth. The newly established planet-metallicity correlation implies that metal-rich stars should be the preferential targets in the search for Earth-like planets.

October 28, 2014 - Grad student Joey Schmitt is the lead author on a new exoplanet discovery, made with the help of Planet Hunter volunteers. The new planet, PH3 c, is a low-mass world, just four times the mass of Earth, with a very low density. In fact, nearly 90% of its volume is composed of hydrogen and helium! Its low mass was possible to measure by modeling transit timing. The orbital period drifted by 10 hours after just a few orbits because of gravitational interactions with a sibling, Saturn-like planet. The article has been published in the Astrophysical Journal. NASA ADS Paper Page.

August 2014 In a pair of papers just published, Postdoc Ji Wang finds evidence for suppressed planet formation in binary or multiple star systems. Paper 2. Paper 1.

See News Archive for past announcements.

About Us

Photo by Jose Velasquez

Debra Fischer's group at Yale works on the discovery of planets orbiting nearby stars.

Our research projects include Doppler planet searches, and analysis of the properties of planet-hosting stars.

We also have an active instrumentation and software development program to investigate novel designs needed for achieving better Doppler precision.

Research Opportunities

The exoplanet research group is currently looking for two new people. Applications will be reviewed beginining January 15th until the positions are filled.

Postdoctoral fellow to work on instrumentation for exoplanet detection. The successful candidate must have a PhD in physics or a related field and experience in an optomechanical lab.

Research technician: the successful applicant must have a bachelors degree in physics or a related field and experience in an optomechanical lab.

YCAA Postdoctoral Fellowship at Yale University
(Annual) deadline for proposals in November

Interdepartmental Postdoctoral Fellowship in Geosciences at Yale University
(Annual) deadline for proposals in January