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6th of July 2022
ATNF Colloquium
USQ's Mount Kent Observatory:Australia's Newest Exoplanet Machine
Rob Wittenmyer (USQ)
Abstract: In the past five years, the University of Southern Queensland's Mount Kent Observatory has undergone a dramatic expansion to become Australia's leading exoplanet observatory. The MINERVA-Australia telescope array is a partnership between MIT, UNSW Sydney, George Mason University, University of Louisville, Nanjing University, University of Texas, and the University of Florida. It is the only southern hemisphere observatory wholly dedicated to the detailed follow-up of planet candidates from NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), and has contributed to the confirmation of 30 planets to date -- about 15% of all TESS confirmed planets. I present mass measurements and system parameters for several new planets using MINERVA-Australis radial velocities, and give preliminary results from our new multi-telescope photometric capability to validate small TESS planet candidates. I aslo describe our longer-term plans for extended mission science and new large telescopes, taking advantage of the unique capabilities of this dedicated observatory.

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