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Don Pollacco

Research Interests

My primary research interests are within the field of extrasolar planets. I was responsible for the SuperWASP project in La Palma, which along with its sister facility at SAAO, has become the most successful ground based planet detection experiment, receiving the group achievement award from the Royal Astronomical Society in 2010. I am also a founder member of the Next Generation Transit Survey project: This concentrates the diversity between smaller planets, allowing for greater analysis and comparison between Neptune-like planets and Super-Earths.


Studing small planets around solar type stars is best done from space. There are two ESA missions with this goal. The first is the ESA S mission CHEOPS (launch 2017) is a swiss led satellite designed to followup known transiting planets (eg NGTS or TESS planets) and detect transiting planets amongst the RV detected systems. Further in the future we have ESA M mission PLATO (launch 2024) which is designed specifically to detect and characterise habitable zone rocky planets. I am the science coordinator for PLATO. Transiting planets are the only objects we can measure accurate radii for, and hence density. This is used to compare directly with theoretical models of planet composition. PLATO will be capable of dedtecting planets with moons and rings etc.


My other research interests include Space Sitauation Awareness and specifically Space debris. Originally this interest started as just a use for our observatory but over the last couple years I have become interested in specific problems such as the nature of debris field at geostationary orbit. This material has profound implications for our telecom satellites etc.

I am the recipient of a Royal Society Wolfson Merit Award.

Current PhD Students

Emma Foxell (3rd year, joint with Richard West), Ben Cooke (2nd year), James Blake (2nd year), Matt Battley (1st year)

Publications and Citations

Current list of publications via ADS. A collection of my publications, including some of the most cited, and some of the more recent, is as follows:

Osborn et al (2016) MNRAS 457, 2273, Single transit candidates from K2: detection and period estimation

Lam et al (2016) arXiv:1607.07859, From Dense Hot Jupiter to Low Density Neptune: The Discovery of WASP-127b, WASP-136b and WASP-138b

Armstrong et al (2015) A&A 582, 33, One of the closest exoplanet pairs to the 3:2 mean motion resonance: K2-19b and c

Motalebi et al (2015) A&A 584, 72, The HARPS-N Rocky Planet Search. I. HD 219134 b: A transiting rocky planet in a multi-planet system at 6.5 pc from the Sun

Armstrong et al (2014), MNRAS 444, 1873, On the abundance of circumbinary planets

Rauer et al (2014) Experimental Astron. 38, 249, The PLATO 2.0 mission

Triaud et al (2010), Spin-orbit angle measurements for six southern transiting planets. New insights into the dynamical origins of hot Jupiters, Astron and Astrophys

Hebb et al, (2009), WASP-12b: The Hottest Transiting Extrasolar Planet Yet Discovered, ApJ

Pollacco et al (2008), WASP-3b: a strongly irradiated transiting gas-giant planet, MNRAS

Collier Cameron et al (2007), WASP-1b and WASP-2b: two new transiting exoplanets detected with SuperWASP and SOPHIE, MNRAS

Pollacco et al (2006), The WASP Project and the SuperWASP Cameras, PASP

Write to:

Don Pollacco,
Department of Physics,
University of Warwick,
Coventry CV4 7AL

Contact Details:

Office: PS005
Tel: +44 (0)247 657 4329
Fax: +44 (0)247 669 2016


All publications via ADS
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