Team who discovered ‘Earth-like’ planet given over £1 million funding

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Our earth - Credit: Pixabay

A University of Hertfordshire team that discovered the second earth-like planet in the Universe have been awarded £1 million worth of funding. 

The Centre for Astrophysics Research (CAR) at the Hatfield-based institution was given the funding by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) to fund their world-leading research.

Professor Kristen Coppin, Director of the Centre for Astrophysics Research at the University of Hertfordshire, said: “The grant was awarded to us after a national, competitive process and its fantastic news for the University and the Centre for Astrophysics Research.

"We are proud of our world-leading research, and this grant will allow us to continue making advancements in astrophysics working alongside our global partners, and to continue leading exciting and upcoming international research projects.”

CAR’s research covers a broad range of areas in observational astronomy at different scales, from the properties of dust grains, to stars, exoplanets, entire galaxies and clusters of galaxies.

The research team works closely with institutions across the globe, using state-of-the-art technology such as the LOFAR (Low Frequency Array), which has antenna stations in many countries - including one in the UK - the MeerKAT radio telescope array in South Africa and the new WEAVE spectrograph facility on the William Herschel Telescope in Spain.

CAR was also part of an international team of researchers that discovered a second ‘Earth-life’ planet orbiting the star closest to our solar system earlier this year. The discovery of Proxima c was published in the Journal of Science Advances and featured by national newspapers.

Dr Rodney Day, dean of School of Physics, Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Hertfordshire, said: “Our research continues to push boundaries as we explore and make discoveries in our own galaxy and beyond.

"Our excellent research informs our expert teaching, inspires the next generation of scientists and mathematicians at the University and benefits wider society.

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"This grant is deserved recognition for the ground-breaking work the Centre for Astrophysics Research does, and I look forward to seeing what discoveries they make in the coming years.”

The Science and Technology Facilities Council is a government agency, since 2007, that carries out research in science and engineering, and funds UK research in similar areas. 

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