Sean O'Brien - Student Profile
Sean O'Brien (He/Him)
Current research project
Crowd-Sourced Applications to the Next-Generation Transit Survey
Exoplanet detection using transit surveys relies on many hours of human vetting to search for transit-like signals and filter out false positives. The power of citizen science has been proven by projects such as Galaxy Zoo, Planet Hunters and Planet Hunters TESS. These platforms present images or light curves from telescopes and utilise classifications from public volunteers to categorise astronomical phenomena, drastically increasing the speed at which researchers can discover new objects such as transiting exoplanets. My research is focused on exoplanet detection and measuring the detection efficiencies of citizen scientists using the ngts.planethunters.org Zooniverse project. Planet Hunters NGTS is the next iteration of the Planet Hunters project, using data from the Next-Generation Transit Survey to search for exoplanet candidates missed in the initial searches by the science team.
Prior to starting my PhD, I graduated with a MSc by Research in Physics from the University of Warwick. For my Master's project, I measured the variation in atmospheric scintillation above Paranal Observatory and its correlation with high-altitude wind speeds. I used NGTS data to make these measurements and study the noise properties of scintillation-limited photometry.
- Exoplanet detection
- Exoplanetary system characterisation
- Atmospheric scintillation