Funding Successes of the UNSW Exoplanetary Science Group

  1. The following grants have been been won by members of our group with UNSW as the Administering Organisation. They total $4.657 m since the group's establishment in 2007.


"Veloce: Australia’s Next-Generation Planet Foundry”

    ARC LIEF LE150100087 Tinney, Ireland, Freeman, Asplund, Bayliss, Wittenmyer,

    Martell, Zucker, Bedding, Carter, Sheinis

    $760k over 1 year

  1. The Veloce Rosso facility will deliver to Australian astronomers a high-resolution, ultra-stabilised, red-wavelength-optimised spectrograph capable of delivering high-precision Doppler velocities for the transiting exoplanet host-stars being discovered now by southern hemisphere transit-planet searches, and for the coming wave of discoveries to be made by NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS). In addition it will enable a vast suite of new research programs in Exoplanetary Science and Galactic Archaeology, as well as providing a sound base of ultra-stable infrastructure enabling future expansion to cover the full optical wavelength range at minimal cost.


"Minerva: a dedicated exoplanet observatory."

    ARC LIEF LE140100050 Wittenmyer, Horner, Tinney, Bedding, Johnson

    $152k over 1 year

  1. Minerva: a dedicated exoplanet observatory: Low-mass planets are extremely common, but the ability to characterise them in detail is severely limited by the availability of telescope time. The Minerva project, led by Harvard, is a dedicated multi-telescope facility which will be able to intensely monitor nearby bright stars for the small radial-velocity "wobbles" due to orbiting terrestrial planets. This project will purchase a telescope for the Minerva array. This innovative facility will give Australian exoplanetary scientists a privileged position in this new research. The arrangement will give the Australian and US partners exclusive access to the observational data on the smallest planets orbiting the nearest stars.

"The TAIPAN Spectrograph"

    ARC LIEF LE140100052 Colless, Drinkwater, Hopkins, Lawrence, Gaensler,

    Bland- Hawthorn, Sadler, Parker, Blake, Mould, Staveley-Smith, Koribalski,

    Brown, Jones, Norris, Pimbblet, Tinney, Springob, Parkinson, Webster,

    Tothill, Filipovic, Croom, Ireland, Sheinis

   $350k over 1 year

  1. TAIPAN - a spectrograph to survey the southern sky: The TAIPAN spectroscopic survey of the southern sky aims to quadruple the number of nearby galaxies with measured redshifts, distances and velocities. Science goals include measuring the expansion rate of the universe to 1 per cent precision, and combining optical spectroscopy and radio data for each galaxy to measure the rate at which gas is being converted into stars in the local universe. This project supports construction of the TAIPAN high-performance spectrograph that will be used to carry out the survey on the UK Schmidt Telescope (UKST). The results of the survey will be made freely available to all Australian astronomers.


"New frontiers for Australian exoplanetary science"

  1. ARC Discovery DP130102695 Tinney, Wright

  2. $885k over 3 years, including Discovery Outstanding Researcher Award

  3. There can be few questions more fundamental for a scientist's research to address than 'Is our home here on Earth unique? Or ubiquitous?' This project will undertake world-leading observations using revolutionary new Australian facilities, to enable breakthrough results that bear on this question.


"Extrasolar terrestrial planets - How Earth-like can they be?"

  1. ARC Discovery DP110104526 Tinney, Bond, Wittenmyer, O'Brien

  2. $270k over 3 years.

  3. This research will answer the key question for current exoplanetary studies and searches - 'Are there other Earths in the Universe?' - by studying not only the processes via which terrestrial planets form, but also by modelling the elemental composition of extrasolar terrestrial planets so that we can understand just how 'Earth-like' they can be.

"Do Earth-like planets orbit Alpha Centauri?"

  1. ARC Discovery DP110101007 Wittenmyer, Hearnshaw, Endl

  2. $135k over 3 years

  3. This project will be an intensive search for Earth-like planets orbiting the two nearest Sun-like stars, Alpha Centauri A and B. Our results will give a valuable first look at the abundance of Earth-like planets in the solar neighbourhood.

A New Era for Australian Exoplanetary Science

  1. ARC Super Science Fellowships FS100100046 Tinney, Bailey, Meadows, Colless

  2. $557k over 4 years

  3. There are few areas of learning that engage the public in cutting-edge science and technology more than astronomy – and few areas of astronomy that engage and fascinate as thoroughly as the study of planets and astrobiology. This research program will not only discover new rocky and gas giant planets orbiting other stars, but tell us about how those planets formed – allowing us to answer the key question for current exoplanetary research – “Are there other Earths in

  4. the Universe?”


"CYCLOPS - A Better Way to Find Extrasolar Planets"

  1. ARC Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities LE0989347 Tinney, Colless, Bedding, Kiss, Freeman, Norris, Da Costa, Lattanzio, Carter, Marsden

  2. $350k (plus $300k partner institution matching)

  3. The primary scientific driver for this new facility is the search for planets orbiting other stars. Australian astronomers, and the Anglo-Australian Telescope, have played a leading role in this new frontier for astronomy, detecting 25 of the 250-odd extrasolar planets known to orbit nearby stars. The CYCLOPS project brings together a team of leading Australian astronomers to build on this track record with a new facility that further advances Australia's capabilities in both this field, and several other high-profile astronomical endeavours: including the study of seismology in stellar interiors, the detailed measurement of elemental abundances in stars throughout our


"The Science of Exoplanets - Finding & Understanding our Planetary Neighbours"

  1. ARC Discovery / Australian Professorial Fellowship DP0774000 Tinney

  2. $1202k over 5 years

  3. There can be few questions more fundamental to humanity, and more capable of engaging young Australians in science and technology, than to ask "Are we alone in the Universe?". The discovery of planetary systems orbiting other stars now enables us to realistically address this fundamental question in the years ahead. A critical component of this global endeavour will be determining 'How common are Earth-like planets orbiting nearby stars?'. This project will establish the nation's leading research group in this field and employ the world's leading astronomical facilities to place Australia at the forefront of the international race to answer these fundamental questions.

This page last updated by Chris Tinney, 8 September 2014