Simon O'Toole's home page

Contact details

Phone: +61 (0)2 9372 4856
Email: otoole at
Mail address: PO Box 296
Epping NSW 1710

Work stuff

I am the Australian Deputy Gemini Scientist currently working at the Australian Astronomical Observatory as part of the Australian Gemini Office. In particular, I support the Gemini Multi-Object Spectrographs (GMOS) on two 8.2 Gemini telescopes.

My two main research interests are the detection of extra-solar planets and the investigation of hot subdwarfs and pre-white dwarfs. I'm also interested in the intersection of these two fields. You can find my published research papers here.

Click HERE for more details of my research.

Australian Gemini Schools Astronomy Contest

In 2010 high school classes in Australia have a chance to use an hour of observing time on one of the world's largest optical telescopes, the 8-metre Gemini South telescope in the Andes Mountains of Chile. How? By picking an object in the Southern sky and writing a winning explanation of why it would be interesting to digitally photograph. More information can be found here. You can also join our Facebook group!

The Anglo-Australian Planet Search

I am a member of the The Anglo-Australian Planet Search team. We are using the University College London Echelle Spectrograph (UCLES) on the AAT with an iodine cell to obtain high-precision radial velocities of around 250 nearby Sun-like stars.

SPADES - The Search for Planets Around Detached Eclipsing Systems

The SPADES project is searching for circumbinary (or "P-type") planets using the eclipse timing method. SPADES is jointly run through the AAO and Variable Stars South by me and Tom Richards, and we are encouraging amateur astronomers to get involved. We also hope to link with university undergraduate programs around the world with access to small telescopes. I also have a local webpage which can be found here; the page is under construction, but has basic information and links to some useful papers.

The MUCHFUSS project

I am also involved in the search for substellar companions to Horizontal Branch stars using the radial velocity method; this is part of the MUCHFUSS project being run by Stephan Geier at the Dr Remeis-Sternwarte in Bamberg, which is part of the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg. We have been using the AAT with UCLES and CYCLOPS as part of the search.

Kepler Asteroseismic Science Consortium

Finally, I am a member of the Kepler Asteroseismic Science Consortium. The consortium members use data taken by the Kepler spacecraft to investigate the interiors of stars using asteroseismology. Specifically I am interested in oscillations in hot subdwarf stars, as well as ensemble properties of solar-like stars. The latter project forms part of Tim White's PhD project at the University of Sydney. I am co-supervising Tim with Professor Tim Bedding and Dr Dennis Stello, both at Sydney.

Some work-related links

astro-ph preprints

Personal stuff

Some links (but not many!):
The Sydney Morning Herald
Google Maps

This page is always under construction!