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An extrasolar planet (or exoplanet) is a planet which orbits a star other than the Sun, and therefore belongs to a planetary system outher than our solar system. The first extrasolar planet around a main sequence star was discovered in 1995. Since then over 200 exoplanets have been detected. The past decade has seen the introduction of highly affordable small telescopes equipped with sensitive CCD detectors. 

Amateur astronomers therefore now are capable of reliably detecting the periodic dimming which occurs when a planet passes in front of its parent star as seen from Earth. 

Drawing by David A.Hardy of a planetary system orbiting Tau Bootis. The exoplanet has approximately 4x the mass of Jupiter.

I'm participating to the study of exoplanets, as an active member of XO, headed by Peter McCullough (STScI) and Transitsearch.org, headed by Gregory Laughlin of the University of California's Lick Observatory. I was the first amateur to detect the transits of TrES-1b, TrES-2b, GJ 436b, HAT-P-4b, HAT-P-5b, WASP-3b and I'm co-discoverer of XO-1b, XO-2b, XO-3b, XO-4b and XO-5b.

Exoplanet Observations made since 2003 

Up till February 2008, I have successfully observed 19 transiting exoplanets : 

HD 209458b (Sep 2003)
HD 189733b
(Oct 2005)

TrES-1b (Sep 2004)
(Sep 2006)
(Jun 2007)
(Oct 2007)
(Jul 2005) 
XO-2b (Mar 2007)
XO-3b (Oct 2006)
XO-4b (Jan 2008)
XO-5b (Feb 2008)
GJ 436b (May 2007)
WASP-1b (Sep 2007)
WASP-2b (Aug 2007)
WASP-3b (Feb 2008)
HAT-P-1b (Sep 2007)
HAT-P-3b (Aug 2007)
HAT-P-4b (Oct 2007)
HAT-P-5b (Oct 2007)



Co-discovery of exoplanet XO-5b in May 2008 

Co-discovery of exoplanet XO-4b in May 2008  

Observations of GJ 436b and WASP-3b in Jan-Feb 2008. 


First ever amateur transit observations of exoplanets HAT-P-4b and HAT-P-5b in October 2007

Transit observations of HAT-P-1b and WASP-1b in September 2007

Transit observations of TrES-3b in June 2007 and TrES-4b in October 2007

Transit observations of WASP-2b and HAT-P-3b in August 2007

Co-discovery of exoplanet XO-3b in June 2007 

First ever amateur transit observations of exoplanet GJ 436 b in May 2007

Co-discovery of exoplanet X0-2b in May 2007  


Observations of a full transit of exoplanet TrES-2b on Oct 10, 2006  

Another transit observation of exoplanet XO-1b on Jun 16, 2006

Transit observations of exoplanet XO-1b  on Jun 12, 2006

First ever amateur transit observations of exoplanet TrES-2b in September 2006  


Co-discovery of exoplanet X0-1b in June 2005 (announced May 2006)

Observations of the new exoplanet HD 189733b on Oct 16, 2005


Baseline photometry of exoplanet candidate HD 74156b on Dec 2, 2004

Another successful TrES-1b transit observation at CBA Belgium Observatory on Sep 4th, 2004   

Updated photometric light curve of the exoplanet TrES-1b transit dd Sep 1, 2004 

First ever amateur transit observations of exoplanet TrES-1b on Sep 1, 2004  


Successful observation of exoplanet HD 209458b at CBA Belgium Observatory in Sep 2003 

Read more about my work on Exoplanets  

Amateur bags GJ 436b transit, Centauri Dreams, May 2007

TrES-2 follow-up, Oklo Website, Sep 2006

XO-1, Oklo Website, May 2006

Exoplanet Transit Search Observing Program, AAVSO Website

Amateur Detects Exoplanet Transit, SkyAndTelescope News, Sep 2, 2004

The Transiting Exoplanets HD209458b and TrES-1, AAVSO Website

Amateurs Catch Exoplanet Transit, Sky & Telescope, January 2005, 132-134 

and many more (just google on "Vanmunster exoplanet" or so) ...


I am co-author on a number of articles related to Exoplanet research :

XO-5b: A Transiting Jupiter-sized Planet with a Four Day Period, C.J. Burke et al., Submitted for publication in Astrophysical Journal, May 2008.

XO-4b: An Extrasolar Planet Transiting an F5V star, P.R. McCullough et al., Submitted for publication in Astrophysical Journal, May 2008.

XO-3b: A Massive Planet in an Eccentric Orbit Transiting an F5V star, C.M. Johns-Krull et al., astro-ph, 14 Mar 2008.

XO-2b: Transiting Hot Jupiter in a metal-rich common proper motion binary, C. Burke et al., Submitted for publication in Astrophysical Journal, May 2007.

Detection of possible anomalies in the Transit Lightcurve of Exoplanet TrES-1b Using a Distributed Observer Network, R. Bissinger et al., Oct 2004

Planetary Transits of the Trans-Atlantic Exoplanet Survey Candidate TrES-1b, A. Price et al., JAAVSO, Volume 34, 2005

A Comparison of Observationally Determined Radii with Theoretical Radius Predictions for Short-Period Transiting Extrasolar Planets, G. Laughlin et al., ApJ, 621: 1072-1078, 2005 Mar 10.

A Transiting Planet of a Sun-like star, P.R. McCullough et al., ApJ, 2006 Sep 01. 

        Tonny Vanmunster


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