News Item

Group Achievement Award for Planet Hunters

The Royal Astronomical Society has today given its 2010 Group Achievement Award to the "Wide Angle Search for Planets" (WASP) research group, which includes a number of research scientists from our School.

The Royal Astronomical Society is the UK's voice for professional astronomers and geophysicists. Their prizes honour individuals and groups who have made an outstanding contribution to astronomy or geophysics and are given out at the 2010 National Astronomy Meeting (NAM 2010) being held in Glasgow.

SuperWASP Robotic TelescopeThe citation reads:-"The Group Achievement Award for Astronomy is given to the  SuperWASP team, the UK collaboration that has so far detected 18 planets in orbit around stars other than the Sun (extrasolar planets or exoplanets). SuperWASP is a consortium of 8 academic institutions: the University of Cambridge, the IAC, the Isaac Newton Group of telescopes, the University of Keele, the University of Leicester,  the Open University, Queen's University Belfast and St Andrews University. SuperWASP uses two clusters of 8 cameras, one on La Palma and one in South Africa, watching for characteristic dips in the brightness of stars as planets pass in front of them. Despite their modest resources, the team have made a world-class contribution to exoplanet science."

Present and former St Andrews personnel included in the citation are:

Andrew Collier Cameron (St Andrews)
Becky Enoch (OU/St Andrews)
Leslie Hebb (St Andrews/USA)
Keith Horne (St Andrews)
Stephen Kane (St Andrews/USA)
Neil Parley (OU/St Andrews)

Prof Cameron stated " "We're delighted at having this honour bestowed on the consortium. A  large number of people have contributed many years of hard work and expertise in a wide range of area in order to turn WASP into the world's most prolific transit- hunting operation, and it's wonderful that all those contributions are being recognised through this award. "

First posted BDS 15.4.10