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Peter Wheatley

I am a professor in the Astronomy & Astrophysics group in the Department of Physics at the University of Warwick. I am also affiliated with our Centre for Exoplanets and Habitability.

Primary Research Interests:
I lead the Next Generation Transit Survey (NGTS) and I am a founder member of the Wide Angle Search for Planets project (WASP). Our wide field telescopes continuously scan millions of stars, searching for the tell-tail dip in brightness caused by a planet passing in front of its parent star. NGTS achieved first light in January 2015 and began full survey operations in February 2016. Our discoveries include NGTS-4b, a sub-Neptune in the Neptunian desertLink opens in a new window, and NGTS-11b, a warm SaturnLink opens in a new window that was the first exoplanet confirmed from a TESS single-transit event. You can watch a brief introduction to NGTS on BBC regional TV news. WASP discovered over two hundred transiting exoplanets, all with precisely measured masses, making it the most successful ground-based project searching for such objects. Our early discoveries were rated among the top ten scientific discoveries of 2007 by TIME magazine. The WASP team received the group achievement award of the Royal Astronomical Society in 2010. I was interviewed on BBC local radio about our discovery of a possible carbon-rich exoplanet.

I am also interested in studing the atmospheric characteristics of exoplanets. Our results have included the first mapping of the wind velocities of an exoplanet, and the detection of the evaporation of close-in planets.

My background is in X-ray astronomy, including observations with NASA's Chandra and ESA's XMM-Newton spacecraft. We recently detected the first X-rays from a white dwarf star due to accretion of planetary debris. You can check out early highlights of my X-ray progamme on NASA's HEASARC picture of the week, the Chandra Chronicles, the sixth item on NASA's RXTE "Snazzy Science" page, and the EUVE Science Highlights.

Publications list (via ADS): Refereed, All

Selected publications:

A white dwarf accreting planetary material determined from X-ray observations
Cunningham, Wheatley et al. 2022, Nature 602, 219

NGTS-4b: A sub-Neptune transiting in the desert
West et al. 2019, MNRAS 486, 5094

The Next Generation Transit Survey (NGTS)
Wheatley et al. 2018, MNRAS 475, 4476

Strong XUV irradiation of the Earth-sized exoplanets orbiting the ultracool dwarf TRAPPIST-1
Wheatley et al. 2017, MNRAS 465, L74

Spatially Resolved Eastward Winds and Rotation of HD 189733b
Louden & Wheatley 2015, ApJL 814, L24

A giant comet-like cloud of hydrogen escaping the warm Neptune-mass exoplanet GJ 436b
Ehrenreich, Bourrier, Wheatley et al. 2015, Nature 522, 459

Temporal variations in the evaporating atmosphere of the exoplanet HD 189733b
Lecavelier des Etangs, Bourrier, Wheatley et al. 2012, A&A 543, L4

The coronal X-ray-age relation and its implications for the evaporation of exoplanets
Jackson, Davis & Wheatley 2012, MNRAS 422, 2024

High C/O Ratio and Weak Thermal Inversion in the Very Hot Atmosphere of Exoplanet WASP-12b
Madhusudhan et al. 2011, Nature 469, 64

Spin-orbit angle measurements for six southern transiting planets. New insights into the dynamical origins of hot Jupiters
Triaud et al. 2010, A&A 524, 25

Evidence for a lost population of close-in exoplanets
Davis & Wheatley 2009, MNRAS 396, 1012

A method for the direct determination of the surface gravities of transiting extrasolar planets
Southworth, Wheatley & Sams 2007, MNRAS, 379, 11

New periodic variable stars coincident with ROSAT sources discovered using SuperWASP
Norton, Wheatley et al. 2007, A&A, 467, 785

WASP-1b and WASP-2b: Two new transiting exoplanets detected with SuperWASP and SOPHIE
Collier Cameron et al. 2006, MNRAS 375, 951

The WASP Project and the SuperWASP Cameras
Pollacco et al. 2006, PASP 118, 1407.

The genome of the T4-type bacteriophage S-PM2 that infects the oceanic picoplankton Synechococcus
Mann, Clokie, Millard, Cook, Wilson, Wheatley, Letarov & Kirsch 2005. Journal of Bacteriology 187, 3188.

The complete set of ASCA X-ray observations of non-magnetic cataclysmic variables
Baskill, Wheatley & Osborne 2005, MNRAS 357, 626

The automated classification of astronomical light curves using Kohonen self-organizing maps
Brett, West & Wheatley 2004, MNRAS 353, 369

The X-ray and extreme-ultraviolet flux evolution of SS Cygni throughout outburst
Wheatley, Mauche and Mattei 2003, MNRAS 345, 49

All publications via ADS

Current teaching:

PX279 The Solar System

PX271 Physics Skills
Tips for lab report writing

PX319 BSc Research Project

PX402 MPhys Research Project

PX129 Physics Tutorial

Past teaching:

PX443 Planets, Exoplanets and Life

PX437 Exoplanets

PX376 Communicating Science

PX269 Galaxies (archived module page)

MPAGS AS2: Astrophysical Techniques

Write to:

Prof. Peter Wheatley,
Department of Physics,
University of Warwick,
Coventry CV4 7AL

Contact Details:

Office: Milburn House, F46
Tel: +44 (0)247 657 4330


All publications via ADS
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