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Exoplanet Science at UCLO


ExoCafe is an observational programme being run at UCLO by Steve Fossey, to monitor interesting transiting exoplanet systems using UCLO's telescopes. Undergraduates are encouraged to participate through contributing to the observing programme, data reduction, helping to maintain the calendar of up-coming transit events, etc., or even just by "being interested" enough to follow progress.

Some information on events held at UCLO is given below. There is a dedicated wiki to support the collaboration at, where information on the project background is available, together with details of how to request access to the rest of the site.

News of the detection of the transit of HD 80606b by ExoCafe students is given in UCLO's 2009 news pages.

All queries about the programme, and how to participate, can be directed to Steve Fossey at sjf(AT)

ExoCafe Summer Review: Thursday, 2010 June 10

Steve Fossey is organising a meeting at UCLO to review the progress of the ExoCafe project, an undergraduate exoplanet-monitoring research project which has been running over the last two years.

The meeting will take place from 1430 (BST) on Thursday, June 10, at UCLO. It will be followed by an informal reception, with refreshments, from about 1630 onwards, to help promote informal discussion! So do plan to stay and relax.

The afternoon will consist of a few short talks on work done using UCLO's telescopes to study transits of extrasolar planets, news of upcoming developments, how the ExoCafe project is running, and how to participate. The main aims are to inform, stimulate discussion, and get feedback and ideas from students on how to improve what we can do together.

If you are interested in attending, please send an email to Steve Fossey at sjf(AT)

Since seating space in the UCLO lecture room is limited, places will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, but we will do our best to meet demand. Travel costs to UCLO from central London (ie, up to the cost of a travelcard) will be reimbursed (but I will need a receipt, or your used ticket).

I am particularly keen to encourage all interested students to be involved, even if you cannot yet foresee how to participate - the project is intended to be as inclusive as possible.

Steve Fossey
2010 June 4th

ExoCafe wiki

A wiki has been set up for collaboration and to help coordinate observations (for UCL students and staff): click here to access the wiki, and follow the instructions given there.

Further details

Funds from UCL and the RAS have recently been awarded to facilitate a collaborative observational project for UCL undergraduates. The scientific aim of the project is to use UCL's observatory, UCLO, to monitor the transits of known and candidate extrasolar planets, with a view to characterizing the planetary companions in confirmed systems, and checking the status of transit candidates which have been discovered by wide-field surveys.

It is hoped that this project will also engage undergraduates directly with astronomical research in a field which is growing fast, and provide opportunities for the development of their own practical and research skills. Another aim of the project is to encourage collaboration in astronomical research by a team of undergraduates and the sharing of expertise and experience. It is hoped that this will also facilitate a closer interaction between research astronomers at UCL and undergraduate students.

ExoCafe meeting at UCLO, 2008 June 5th

Twenty-five UCL undergraduate students gathered at UCLO for the first ExoCafe meeting on 5th June, to discuss setting up an observing programme to monitor transiting extrasolar planets.

Steve Fossey gave a presentation on the project background and philosophy, and summarized some of the results obtained at UCLO so far by 4th-yr MSci students Dan Smith and Yudish Ramanjooloo. Dave Kipping, a postgraduate in UCL's Atmospheric Physics Laboratory, presented news of current research in exoplanet science, and some recent results from the IAU Symposium on transiting planets held in Cambridge, MA, in 2008 May. After lunch, we discussed how to manage the observing programme.

The participants are pictured below (click on the image for a bigger version).

Highest-resolution JPG (550kB)
Alternative high-resolution JPG (550kB) - for those who blinked