Professor Chris Tinney

Professor Chris Tinney

Fields of research: Astronomical and Space Sciences, Stellar Astronomy and Planetary Systems, Astronomical and Space Instrumentation, Astrobiology
Campus: Kensington
Tag: Expanding Knowledge in the Physical Sciences

Current Roles

  • Associate Dean (Research), Faculty of Science
  • Co-Director, Australian Centre for Astrobiology
  • Discovery Outstanding Researcher, School of Physics

Research in Exoplanetary Science

I head the Exoplanetary Science at UNSW group within the Australian Centre for Astrobiology, located within the Dept of Astrophysics in the School of Physics. My group currently hosts two faculty, four post-doctoral researchers and four graduate students, working on projects ranging from the search...

Current Roles

  • Associate Dean (Research), Faculty of Science
  • Co-Director, Australian Centre for Astrobiology
  • Discovery Outstanding Researcher, School of Physics

Research in Exoplanetary Science

I head the Exoplanetary Science at UNSW group within the Australian Centre for Astrobiology, located within the Dept of Astrophysics in the School of Physics. My group currently hosts two faculty, four post-doctoral researchers and four graduate students, working on projects ranging from the search for exoplanets orbiting Sun-like main sequence stars (the Anglo-Australian Planet Search), the search for exoplanets around evolved stars more massive than the Sun (Rob Wittenmyer's Southern Sub-Giant Planet Search), a high intensity search for terrestrial-mass planets orbiting the two components of the nearest star (alpha Cen A and B), direct imaging observations of already known long-period companions to Anglo-Australian Planet Search stars, follow-up of transit candidates from the HAT-South planet search, searches for low-mass planets in the habitable zones of nearby M dwarf stars, hunting for planetary-mass methane dwarfs in nearby young star clusters, and discvering and studying the coolest Y-type brown dwarfs in the Solar Neighbourhood using data from NASA's WISE satellite.

We are also actively pursuing new technologies for searching for exoplanets - especially the use of image slicing fibre technologies for improving spectrograph performance, the use of astrophotonic technologies for removing spatial information from the entrance apertures of astronomical spectrographs, and for smashing the current cost-paradigms for high-resolution spectrographs on large aperture telescopes.

We are actively pursuing the construction of a new high-resolution spectrograph for the Anglo-Australian Telescope. This concept, which we call Veloce, would use image slicing and an innovative asymmetric white pupil design to deliver an extremely cost-effective high-resolution facility, enabling world-leading Doppler spectrscopy on the AAT well into the next decade, as well as replacing and upgradig the facilities offered by the current UCLES spectrograph on the AAT.

We are also pursuing the FunnelWeb survey concept, together with researchers at Macquarie University and across Australia. This survey would deliver spectroscopy for all ~2 million stars brighter than V=12 that are visible from the Southern hemisphere - providing a gold-mine of information on the locations of the youngest stars (for use as targets in direct imaging exoplanet searches), binary and eclipsing binary stars, potential targets for NASA's TESS satellite ... and a wealth of other killer science.

We work closely with colleagues within the Australian Centre for Astrobiology to examine the impacts of our exoplanetary discoveries on the question of habitable environments outside the Solar System - especially with the members of Prof. Jeremy Bailey's Planetary Science group, here within the Astrophysics Department.

Location

Old Main Building, Room 131.


 

Map reference (Google Maps)

Contact

02 9385 5168

Research Activities

Exoplanetary Science at UNSW

Exoplanetary Science at UNSW

Australia's leading research group in the discovery and understanding of planets orbtiing other stars.

The Australian Centre for Astrobiology

The Australian Centre for Astrobiology

The Australian Centre for Astrobiology (ACA) provides an important inter-disciplinary context for our research into the properties of exoplanets.

AAPS - The Anglo-Australian Planet Search

AAPS - The Anglo-Australian Planet Search

A major search for planets orbiting nearby stars. It has been running on the Anglo-Australian Telescope since 1998, and has discovered almost 10% of the known Doppler exoplanets.

CYCLOPS

CYCLOPS

Delivering new fibre-based integral field units for precision Doppler spectroscopy.

NPARSEC - The NTT Parallax Program

NPARSEC - The NTT Parallax Program

A major astrometric program running on the ESO New Technology Telescope in Chile, which is measuring distances to around 60 of the nearest and faintest brown dwarfs.