The SPECULOOS Pipeline and First Results from Callisto
Comprised of research teams in Cambridge (UK) and Liege (Belgium), the SPECULOOS Project (Search for habitable Planets EClipsing ULtra-cOOl Stars) aims to hunt for transits in approximately 1000 of the nearest "ultracool dwarf" stars (UCDs). These Jupiter-sized stars range from 7-10% of the solar mass and have luminosities less than 0.1% of the Sun meaning that their habitable zones span orbits of only a few days. These properties make UCDs prime targets for the detection of temperate terrestrial planets from ground-based 1m-class robotic telescopes, as well as for their detailed atmospheric characterization with upcoming facilities (such as JWST and E-ELT).
My research has been in the development of a pipeline for SPECULOOS which will automate the processes of data reduction and calibration, measure precise aperture photometry, cross-match with catalogues (such as Gaia and 2MASS) and generate light-curves for each star in a field of view. The lightcurves will then be automatically detrended and searched for transits. We will then validate (through cross-matching, vetting and follow up observations) the best candidate exoplanets. This will be presented on the first results of Callisto, the third telescope in the SPECULOOS project, which was commissioned in early 2018.