Our research explores almost every aspect of the hunt for, and study of, planets outside our Solar System.

We use a variety of observing techniques, including :

  1. Bullet"Doppler Wobble" searches for planets orbiting Sun-like stars, sub-giants, M-dwarfs and transit -planet hosts;

  2. BulletDirect imaging of long-period companion systems with NICI on Gemini

  3. Bullet"Direct" detection searches for planetary-mass members of nearby star clusters; and

  4. BulletMeasurements of the spin-orbit misalignment of transiting planetary systems

  5. BulletSecondary transit measurements of exoplanetary emission properties

  6. BulletDirect searches for the coldest planetary-mass brown dwarfs in large sky surveys, and measurements of their properties using photometry, astrometry and spectra.

We also explore the theory of the formation of exoplanets, their dynamical evolution and survival, and the connections between exoplanetary properties and the properties of remnant debris disks around nearby stars.

The search for extrasolar planets, and the understanding of the habitability of those planets, is a key component of the global, multi-disciplinary astrobiology initiative. Our group is a key component of the Australian Centre for Astrobiology here at UNSW.

We lead new instrumentation projects for exoplanetary science like the new CYCLOPS2 fibre feed for the Anglo-Australian Telescope, and the Veloce spectrograph project.

Prospective PhD students from UNSW and elsewhere interested in working in exoplanetary science are encouraged to contact me to discuss possible research projects. I have funds to provide top-up support of $6000 per annum for PhD students with APAs or international scholarships.

UNSW Physics Honours students can also undertake research projects in our group - details on projects currently on offer can be found to here.

Exoplanetary Science at UNSW Publications

Exoplanetary Science at UNSW Funding

Exoplanetary Science at UNSW Students

  1. BulletPhD Projects

  2. BulletHonours Projects

  3. BulletVacation Scholarships

Exoplanetary Science at UNSW People

  1. BulletProfessor Chris Tinney - UNSW ResearchGate page,  Personal page and PHYS2160 (2015) page

  2. BulletDr Rob Wittenmyer (Lecturer)

  3. BulletDr Jade Carter-Bond (Research Associate)

  4. BulletDr Duncan Wright (Research Associate)

  5. BulletDr Jonty Marshall (VC Research Fellow)

  6. BulletMr Brett Addison (PhD student)

  7. BulletMs Daniela Opitz (PhD student)

  8. BulletMr Matthew Davie (PhD student)

  9. BulletMr Ian Morrisson (PhD student)

Former Exoplanetary Science members

  1. BulletDr Stephen Parker (completed PhD in 2013)

  2. BulletDr Jonti Horner (now at USQ)

  3. BulletDr Graeme Salter (now at Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Marseille)

Our research has been supported through multiple grants from the Australian Research Council through the Discovery Projects, Australian Professorial Fellowship, Super Science Fellowship and Discovery Outstanding Research Award schemes. Details can be found on our Funding page.

Contact details

  1. Prof. Chris Tinney

  2. School of Physics

  3. University of NSW. 2052

  4. Australia

  5. Ph: +61 2 9385 5168

  6. Fax: +61 2 9385 6060

  7. c dot tinney at unsw dot edu dot au

Australian Center for Astrobiology
- members in Astrophysics

  1. BulletProfessor Chris Tinney

  2. BulletDr Rob Wittenmyer

  3. BulletDr Brett Addison

  4. BulletA/Professor Jeremy Bailey

  5. BulletProfessor John Webb

  6. BulletProfessor Michael Burton

  7. BulletDr Maria Cunningham

  8. BulletDr Lucyna Kedziora-Chudzer

  9. BulletDr Duncan Wright

  10. BulletMr John Bentley

  11. BulletMr Matthew Davie

  12. BulletMs Daniela Opitz

Exoplanetary Science at UNSW Links

  1. Anglo-Australian Planet Search (AAPS)

  2. Australian Centre for Astrobiology

  3. UNSW Astrophysics

  4. UNSW Physics

Miscellaneous links

  1. BulletSeen something weird in the sky? Want to know what's happening this month? Then visit Sydney Observatory's very cool blog.

  2. BulletDetailed analysis of AAO CCD non-linearity released.

  3. BulletCorrecting the SOFI shade

  4. BulletBefore moving to UNSW I was at the AAO for 12 years & was responsible at various times for IRIS2, WFI, UCLES, and the EEV & MITLL CCDs.

This page last updated 19 December 2015


Finding Us

The bookmark on the google map below will get you to the main entrance of the 'Old Main Building' ('Old Main' because it was the home of the Chancellery, at the University's foundation


  1. Top-up scholarships of $6000 per annum are available for PhD students working in our group


  1. Bullet16 Dec 2015 - The Exoplanetary Science at UNSW team made possibly their most exciting discovery yet - the closest potentially habitable planet found outside our solar system so far, orbiting a star just 14 light years away.

    The habitable-zone planet, more than four times the mass of the Earth, is one of three that the team detected around the red dwarf Wolf 1061. The larger outer planet falls just outside the outer boundary of the habitable zone and is also likely to be rocky, while the smaller inner planet is too close to the star to be habitable.

    The discovery is accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal Letters. The UNSW team made the discovery using observations of Wolf 1061 collected by the HARPS spectrograph on the European Southern Observatory’s 3.6 metre telescope in La Silla in Chile. More information and graphical material can be found at the UNSW Science Newsroom. A preprint of the accepted paper is arxiv, and here.

    Coverage includes: SMH, ABC Online, CNN.com, Telegraph, and many other outlets.
  2. Bullet8 April 2015 - UNSW has approved the admission of Brett Addison to the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. Congratulations Dr Brett!

  3. Bullet15 March 2015 - In Feb this year the AAO Observer published an article by myself and Mike Ireland on the upcoming FunnelWeb survey.

    In my enthusiasm to wax lyrical on the order-of-magnitude advance this survey will represent for our understanding of the spectra of the brightest stars, I neglected the important work done by some dedicated astronomers after the completion of the HD Catalogues in the first half of the 20th century. Enthusiasm is no excuse, and I apologise whole heartedly for that neglect.

    In particular, I neglected to record the lifetime of work by Dr Nancy Houk and collaborators on the re-observation and spectral re-classification of the stars in the HD Catalogue, as published in the "Michigan Catalogue" series of publications between 1975 and 2000. We also confused the HD Catalogue's 1-dimensional Harvard classification system with the Morgan, Keenan & Kellman (MKK) 2-dimensional system first introduced in 1943.

    A correction to this effect will be published in the next issue of the AAO Observer.

  4. Bullet5 Nov 2014 - Veloce Rosso is funded by a LIEF grant awarded to a consortium led by UNSW and including ANU, USQ, AAO, Sydney and Macquarie. Thanks to additional contributions by UNSW and USQ we are now fully funded at $1.65m!

  5. Bullet5 Nov 2014 - "The Luminosities of the Coldest Brown Dwarfs" by Tinney et al. published for in The Astrophysical Journal.

  6. Bullet18 Sep 2014 - BABS 6741 lecture on Exoplanets

  7. Bullet17 Sep 2014 - Are We There Yet?
    A talk on 2 Decades of Exoplanet Discovery, what we've learned, and ways to move forward.

  8. Bullet29 August 2014 - an article in the magazine Science about the near-infrared detection of the cold brown dwarf W0855 and its implications for the presence of water ice clouds (published in ApJ), was the highest ranked news item for the whole journal on this day!

  9. Bullet28 July 2014 - Brett Addison's latest R-M paper "A Spin-Orbit Alignment for the Hot Jupiter HATS-3b" is accepted to appear in ApJ.

  10. Bullet29 July 2014 - PHYS2160 starts for 2014.

  11. Bullet21 June 2014 - Dr Rob Wittenmyer and team have announced the discovery of GJ832c - a habitable zone planet just 16 light years away. By some measures of habitability, this is the third most similar planet currently known to the Earth. See also the UNSW Newsroom release.

  12. Bullet5 June 2014 - Life in the Bear-pit: Being on a Grant Panel. A role-playing exercise for the Postdoctoral Academy at UNSW to give early-career researchers a "gut feel" for the difficulties of assessing grants.

  13. Bullet2 May 2014 - Chris Tinney discusses the incredible discovery of the fourth closest stellar system to our Sun - the ~250K Y dwarf W0855.

  14. Bullet28 Aug 2013 - ABC Online and ABC's StarStuff cover Brett Addison's WASP79b polar orbit result.

  15. Bullet8 August  2013 - The first FunnelWeb Workshop was held at UNSW

  16. Bullet1-2 July 2013 - The inaugural  Australian Astrobiology Workshop was held at UNSW.

  17. Bullet14 June 2013 - Science with Veloce Workshop

  18. See the News page for more details and an archive of older items.

Major Projects

  1. BulletThe
    Australian Centre for Astrobiology is a UNSW Centre in which the Exoplanetary Science
    at UNSW
    group plays a major role..

  2. BulletFunnelWeb - a major survey of all the bright stars in the southern sky.
    Starting in 2016, we will implement the "HD catalogue for the 21st century", identifying young stars for exoplanet imaging and providing an input catalogue for the NASA TESS mission.

  3. BulletVeloce -
    a next-generation fibre-IFU-fed precision Doppler spectrograph for the AAT.

  4. BulletAnglo-Australian Planet Search (AAPS) - searching m
    ore than 200 nearby stars for planets - and finding more than 40 of them!

  5. BulletCYCLOPS - a new model for fibre injection of an echelle spectrograph, enabling precision velocities for fainter stars.

  6. BulletPlanet Search with Gemini NICI - a Gemini program to image AAPS stars that we know have long-period companions, so that we can find out if they are massive, very-long-period brown dwarfs, or undetectable shorter-period planets.

  7. BulletPan-Pacific Planet Search - a search for giant planets orbiting sub-giant stars

  8. BulletA Habitable-zone M-dwarf Planet Search using the AAT.

  9. BulletNPARSEC - an ESO Large Programme to measure parallax distances for 60 T-type brown dwarfs at the New Technology Telescope over the next three years.

  10. BulletMining the southern sky for Y dwarfs - Exoplanetary Science at UNSW group members are collaborating with the NASA WISE Brown Dwarf Science team on the follow-up of all the T- and Y-type brown dwarfs in WISE's all-sky survey database.

  11. BulletAST3 Exoplanet Working Group