Stopover talks

MINERVA: Driving a new golden age of exoplanetary science with small telescopes, A Talk by Dr. Robert A. Wittenmyer

by Dr Robert A. Wittenmyer (MINERVA Observatory University of Southern Queensland, Australia)

Scorpius Meeting Room

MINERVA: Driving a new golden age of exoplanetary science with small telescopes

Exoplanetary science has undergone a revolution of new discoveries thanks to the Kepler mission and extreme precision radial velocities.  The next revolution will be one of understanding - a "great unveiling" as we learn the detailed properties of the planetary systems in the Solar neighbourhood.  The MINiature Exoplanet Radial Velocity Array (MINERVA) is a new multi-telescope facility dedicated to understanding the nearest planetary systems.  MINERVA is now fully operational at the F.L. Whipple Observatory in Arizona.  I describe some results from our photometric observations, including the discovery of a disintegrating minor planet transiting a white dwarf.  I also demonstrate our radial velocity precision.  Finally, I introduce MINERVA-Australis, a similar array of up to 6 telescopes located at the University of Southern Queensland's Mt Kent Observatory for follow-up validation and multicolour characterisation of K2, AST3, and TESS planet candidates.  As a dedicated southern hemisphere observatory, MINERVA-Australis represents a prime opportunity for enhanced collaboration between Australian and Asian astronomy communities.