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Transiting Exoplanet Light Curve

  1. May 25, 2012 #1

    Drakkith

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    Staff: Mentor

    Well, I just made my first light curve of a transiting exoplanet, TRES-3B, the graph is here.
    It's my first time ever doing any photometry, but seeing as how the light curve matches the expected transit pretty much spot on it looks like I was successful.

    It's got me wanting to get more or bigger telescopes to do better curves lol.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 25, 2012 #2
    :)

    Is the airmass curve measuring the "thickness" of our atmosphere, or something else? Also, what are the units on the time axis?
     
  4. May 25, 2012 #3

    Drakkith

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    The airmass curve is how much air the target is imaged through at the time. Zenith is 1.0 and it increases as you get lower towards the horizon. The units on the time axis are the julian date.
     
  5. May 30, 2012 #4

    Drakkith

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  6. May 31, 2012 #5

    Bobbywhy

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    Congratulations on doing real astronomy and sharing it with us here. Hoping you can get a bigger "light bucket" and connect the most sensitive detectors to continue making this kind of important measurement.
    By the way, is this recently more popular search for exoplanets in any way motivated by the hope "we are not alone"?
     
  7. May 31, 2012 #6

    Drakkith

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    Thanks!

    No idea. I don't think my motivation is due to that hope. But I can't speak for anyone else.
     
  8. May 31, 2012 #7
    Maybe Drakkith gets lucky and plots a stepped light curve indicating a large moon, or rings, or a binary planet (or whatever it was they said would do that, LOL)

    BTW, when they mentioned the stellar light fluxes they are measuring are unexpectedly noisier than expected, besides longer integration times, is there anything else that would mitigate the problem?

    Like big light buckets, or seperate light buckets recording the same transits, or maybe several scopes in a specific geometric configuration , or maybe blue or red filters to emphasize the portions of the spectra that are more stable ??
     
  9. May 31, 2012 #8

    Drakkith

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    Who is "they"?
     
  10. Jun 1, 2012 #9
    Gilliland, Ronald L.; et al. (2011). "Kepler Mission Stellar and Instrument Noise Properties"

    UMSF has had several postings on the unexpected variability of the stars in the Kepler mission survey. It's a fascinating finding. Serendipity strikes again.

    The effect was also noted in the Subaru Telescopes images for the Ice Hunters project, which I participated in.
     
  11. Jun 1, 2012 #10

    Drakkith

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    Not sure what can be done about the stellar variation. If it's different in different colors then yes I suppose you could use filters, but that would drastically cut down on your light and decrease your signal to noise ratio, leading to worse precision.
     
  12. Jun 1, 2012 #11

    mfb

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    I think the main motivation is the possibility to detect more and more of them.
    The search for earth-like planets is a really interesting thing, too, of course.
     
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