Small planets around small stars
Discovery of TOI-270: a Disneyland for exoplanet scientists
I led the discovery study for the TOI-270 system, which became a true Disneyland for us exoplanet scientists. With three small exoplanets orbiting a red dwarf star, TOI-270 is a prime example of the type of system the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) set out to discover, and will soon provide a lot of puzzle pieces we are currently missing. The star TOI-270, only 40% the size and mass of our Sun, has three planets in orbit: one slightly bigger than Earth and likely rocky, and two double the size of Earth and probably of a similar composition as Neptune - rocky cores covered by a thick gas atmosphere. Being one of the nearest and brightest such systems, TOI-270 is a true Disneyland for exoplanet science. It is relatively easy to observe and offers something for every research area, from formation and dynamics to atmosphere and habitability studies. The unique, open spirit of the TESS community made this discovery possible, and various follow-up efforts are already in progress. So stay tuned for more exciting TOI-270 news in the future. Go TESS!
See Günther, M.N. et al., 2019
Featured in New York Times, The Economist, The Independent, Nature's Behind the Scenes
Other outstanding discovery's
I also worked on the discoveries of TESS'
first new exoplanet (Pi Men c): Video, Cnet, Sciencenews, Dailystar, Sciencealert
first Earth-sized planet (HD 21749): New York Times