2006 Student Research Conference:
19th Annual Student Research Conference

Science

Detecting Extrasolar Planetary Transits Through Photoelectric Photometry
Violet M. Poole
Dr. Matthew M. Beaky, Faculty Mentor

Observations of extrasolar planetary transits are crucial to determining specific information about the planet, such as mass and radius. The detection of planetary transits around stars known to possess planets from radial velocity measurements have been partially delegated to amateur astronomers through the Transit Search organization’s campaign. Most observations are conducted with the use of a CCD camera, but in this project we demonstrate that a solid-state photoelectric photometer can yield comparable precision. Photoelectric photometers require less data analysis than CCD photometry, potentially allowing more amateurs to join in the detection of these transits. In this study an Optec SSP-3A photoelectric photometer was used at the Truman Observatory to observe transits of extrasolar planets. The precision of this system is demonstrated by observing a transit of HD209458, a well-known transiting planet with an associated stellar magnitude decrease of 0.017. Other attempts at observing planetary transits will also be reported.

Keywords: Extrasolar Planets, Transits, Astronomy, Photometry

Topic(s):Physics

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 7-1
Location: VH 1416
Time: 8:15

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