David Kipping wrote his PhD thesis on the subject of exomoon detection theory at
University College London and has single-authored numerous papers on the topic. David
devised two new methods to detect exomoons in the form of TDV-V and TDV-TIP (velocity
and transit-impact-parameter induced transit duration variations, respectively).
These tools are critical in assessing a moon’s mass and sense of orbital motion (prograde
David is now a NASA Carl Sagan fellow at the Harvard College Observatory, where the
HEK project servers perform round the clock automated searches for exomoons.
Prof. Bakos of Princeton University founded the HATNet project (Hungarian Automated
Telescope NETwork), which is one the most successful transiting planet hunting surveys
to date. Gáspár’s expertise range from instrumentation, to programming, from observations
to theory and we are fortunate to have these talents for HEK.
Allan Schmitt joined the HEK project via PlanetHunters.org. This dedicated group
of non-professional astronomers inspect Kepler light curves for signs of other planets
not found by the automated planet-hunting tools of Kepler. In a similar vein, Allan
leads the visual inspection effort on these data for exomoon signals. Exomoon signals
are much trickier to spot than new planets but a trained and patient human eye is
a powerful tool.
email: aschmitt AT comcast.net
Co-Investigator (Co-I): Dr. Lars Buchhave
Dr. Lars Buchhave, based at the Neils Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, obtains stellar
spectra for the HEK project as well as his own projects. These spectra are then used
to refine the stellar parameters and look for the stellar wobble caused by the presence
of a planet. By combining this data with the Kepler photometry, HEK can not only
confirm candidates, but also dynamically measure the masses and radii of the entire
Based at the Southwest Research Institute in Colorado, Dr. David Nesvorny is a dynamist
who has written pivotal papers in fields ranging from Kuiper belt objects to moons,
from exoplanets to asteroids. David’s expertise is crucial to the HEK project. Frequently,
the dynamical perturbations which can signal the presence of a moon could also be
confused with a perturbing planet. David will interrogate the hypothesis of a perturbing
planet in such cases, to help us understand the true nature of the planetary system.
Joel is an Associate Research Scholar at Princeton and has been instrumental in the
success of the HAT project, founded by Prof. Bakos. Joel has recently begun investigating
novel non-parametric methods to look for exomoons and provides invaluable support
in the interpretation of light curve signals, as well characterizing the host stars.