News archive

Exoplanet discovery

The recent discovery of a new exoplanet provides further evidence that cold Neptune-like bodies may not be that uncommon. The new exoplanet is called MOA-2009-BLG-266Lb, after the survey that first issued the alert, and is about ten times more massive than the Earth.The planet's mass and orbital distance indicate that it may be a "failed Jupiter-core".

ESA Selects Solar Orbiter Mission

The ESA Science Programme Committee has selected Solar Orbiter as the M1 Medium Class mission in its Cosmic Vision programme, with a 2017 launch. David Burgess, of the Astronomy Unit, is on the Science Teams for three different instruments: the magnetometer, solar wind particle analyser and plasma wave instrument.

PhD Viva: Heidar Thrastarson

Congratulations to Heidar Thrastarson on the successful passing of his PhD viva on 19 September! His thesis is entitled: "General Circulation Modelling of Close-In Extrasolar Giant Planets."

The figure shows dynamic, planetary scale storms on a Hot Jupiter, with instantaneous flow (arrows) and potential vorticity (colour scale) in a simulation of a typical close-in extrasolar giant planet atmosphere.

RAS Fellowships 2012

The Royal Astronomical Society is offering up to 3 Fellowships from October 2012 from post-doctoral candidates, of any nationality, who are ordinarily resident in the UK. Full details available at the RAS web site. Application Deadline 9am, 1 November 2011.

New School of Physics and Astronomy

Queen Mary has approved the merger of the School of Physics with the Astronomy Unit, to form a new School of Physics and Astronomy from August 1st, 2011. This will open up new opportunities for research, and in undergraduate and postgraduate teaching, with an expansion of the undergraduate Astrophysics programmes, new undergraduate projects, and integration with the existing M.Sc. in Astrophysics.