David Bennett

David Bennett

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Research Professor of Astrophysics and Cosmology

Office: 325 Nieuwland Science Hall
Phone: 574-631-8298
Email: bennett@nd.edu

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Areas of Expertise

Gravitational microlensing, exoplanets

Bennett is a pioneer in a technique called gravitational microlensing, which may be an exceptional technology for finding distant planets with traits that could support life. Gravitational microlensing is based on an effect predicted by Albert Einstein in 1915. During a gravitational microlensing event, the almost perfect alignment between a background source star, a lens star and an observatory allows researchers to discover a planet that orbits the lens star. Bennett was a founding member of the MACHO Project, which discovered the first known gravitational microlensing event in 1993. Much of Bennett’s current research is focused on space-based microlensing observations. He has several Hubble Space Telescope observing programs. His most ambitious space project is the proposed Galactic Exoplanet Survey Telescope (GEST), which will survey the galaxy for planets down to the mass of Mars. If funded, GEST will provide the first estimate of the abundance of Earth-like planets throughout the galaxy.


Astronomer Bennett’s team discovers new class of planets
Astrophysicist Bennett’s project rated top priority research activity
Astronomers find tiny planet orbiting tiny star
Astronomers discover Jupiter-Saturn-like planets in distant solar system
Bennett leads Hubble team in star discovery
Microlensing technique reveals small, rocky extrasolar planet
New planet found: Icy ‘Super-Earth’ dominates distant solar system
Distant planet found by ‘gravitational microlensing’


International Business Times — First Exomoon Spotted: Is It The Real Deal, Or Just A Planet Orbiting A Star?
UPI — Scientists may have spotted the first exomoon
Fox News — NASA-funded researchers spot first possible ‘exomoon’
National Geographic — A Guide to Lonely Planets in the Galaxy
The Daily Galaxy — Rogue Warp-Speed Planets Escaping Milky Way at 30-Million MPH!
Astrobiology Magazine — Hunting for Planets in the Dark