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Yale Astronomy


December 4, 2013 - The progress by everyone on the team in the past month has been vigorous and exciting: Doppler exoplanet detections, instrument development for innovation in Doppler precision, precise measurements of stellar diameters, spectroscopic analysis of stars on Doppler surveys, coupling of Kepler asteroseismic and spectroscopic data for a revision of fundamental stellar astrophysics, detection of transiting planets in Kepler data, searches for microlensing events in Kepler data, evolution of planet radii (Kepler data), and many new Planet Hunters discoveries (partnering with volunteers and scientists around the world).

  • Postdoctoral Fellow Dr. Tyler McCracken: successfully defended his PhD thesis (Nov 2013)
  • Tyler McCracken and Colby Jurgenson: a paper on enhancement of fringe tracking for IR stellar interferometry accepted by Applied Optics and a second paper on the ICONN fringe-tracker at MRO accepted by the Journal of Astronomical Instrumentation (Nov 2013)
  • Colby Jurgenson, Tyler McCracken, Will Rutter (summer undergrad student from MIT), and grad student Jeremy Branford: successful demonstration of a prototype precision wavelength calibration system using super-continuum light source filtered by a tunable F-P laser that is locked to hyperfine transitions (to be presented at the June 2014 SPIE meeting in Montreal)
  • Tabby Boyajian: a paper predicting stellar diameters accepted by ApJ (Nov 2013) and a paper with undergrad Miranda Kephardt on stellar angular diameters of eleven planet-hosting stars (Dec 2013)
  • Grad student Joey Schmitt: Planet Hunter paper (with first 7-planet system and a dozen other planet transit candidates) favorably reviewed by the ApJ (Dec 2013)
  • Grad student Jack Moriarty: paper modeling the chemical evolution of planetesimals in protoplanetary disks submitted to the ApJ (Nov 2013)
  • Grad student John Brewer: paper on the web-interface tools for the CHIRON spectrometer accepted to the PASP (Nov 2013)
  • Grad student Matt Giguere: paper on multi-planet systems from the metal-rich N2K survey submitted to ApJ (Dec 2013)
  • Postdoc Ji Wang: paper on planet formation in binary star systems paper (Kepler data) favorably reviewed (Dec 2013)
  • Instrument group: awarded a contract for the Moletai Observatory spectrograph in Lithuania (Dec 2013)
  • Debra Fischer: Twenty-Five year Lick Planet Search paper (accepted Nov 2013)

October 28, 2013 - Grad student Joey Schmitt leads a new paper on the discovery of the first 7-planet transiting in the Kepler data, discovered by Planet Hunters.

Read the press release and take a tour of the 7-planet KOI351 system!

September 12, 2013 - Professor Debra Fischer received the Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity's Ten Outstanding Faculty Members Award. The annual award is given to ten professors from the US and Canada and is in honor of her passion for inspiring students as well as actions that connect to Kappa Alpha Theta aspirations: intellectual curiosity, leadership potential, commitment to service, and personal excellence.

Kappa Alpha Theta Press Release

May 15, 2013 - Grad student Matt Giguere was awarded a prestigious NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship to carry out his dissertation work to detect low mass planets using the CHIRON spectrometer at CTIO.

NASA Press Release

January 7, 2013 - In a paper led by Ji Wang, Planet Hunters announces the discovery of a Jupiter-size planet in the habitable zone of a sunlike star and the detection of 42 new planet candidates.

© Haven Giguere
Yale press release
Oxford press release

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.