UT alumnus contributes to discovery of planet outside solar system

January 11, 2013 | Research, UToday, Alumni, Natural Sciences and Mathematics
By Samantha Watson


An international team of astronomers recently discovered a planet about 13 times the mass of Jupiter, one of only several outside our solar system to be digitally imaged.

One of the members of the team, Dr. John Wisniewski, received both his master’s and doctoral degrees at The University of Toledo. He is an assistant professor of astronomy at the University of Oklahoma College of Arts and Sciences.

He is part of the Strategic Explorations of Exoplanets and Disks with Subaru, or SEEDS Project, headed by Motohide Tamura, National Astronomical Observatory of Japan. The discovery paper was written by Dr. Joseph Carson of the College of Charleston and the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany.

Wisniewski will analyze follow-up observations of the planetary system, which is located around the massive star Kappa Andromedae. Wisniewski said his training at UT will help him as he searches for more on this exoplanet — a planet outside the solar system.

“Some of the follow-up work I’m doing was predicated on training I received using the Ritter telescope,” Wisniewski said. “The Ritter Observatory is excellent training ground for undergraduates and graduates at UT.”