NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2008B-0092

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Proposal Information for 2008B-0092


PI: Steve B. Howell, NOAO, howell@noao.edu
Address: KPNO, 950 N. Cherry Ave., Tucson, AZ, USA

CoI: Elliott Horch, Southern Connecticut State University

Title: High Resolution Imaging of Kepler Exo-planet Target Stars

Abstract: The NASA Kepler mission will be launched in Feb. 2009 and begin science operations 1 month later. Kepler's main science focus is to identify earth-like exo-planets vis photometric transit detection. ``Hot Jupiters" will be found in the hundreds (using current ground- based statistics) but Earth-sized planets (up to 2.5 Earth radii) will be more difficult. A Earth-sized planet transiting a G2V star shows a drop in the light signal of only 10^-5. During the few hour event, many samples are obtained by the Kepler mission. These, as well as re- observation of 2 or more additional transits, will provide the basis for a candidate detection. To take the list of candidates and move them to probable or certain exo-planets, a decision tree of false positive elimination will occur. Kepler science team members have distributed the many false positive elimination tasks to a subset of the membership - this proposal is to explore and use high-resolution imaging from WIYN to search for faint background sources that may be eclipsing binaries masquerading as small planet transit events. We plan to use two types of high resolution imaging at WIYN - Speckle observations with the SPECKLE imager and high-speed, tip-tilt corrected video photometry with the OPTIC imager. Both provide high resolution images, each with some advantages and disadvantages.


National Optical Astronomy Observatory, 950 North Cherry Avenue, P.O. Box 26732, Tucson, Arizona 85726, Phone: (520) 318-8000, Fax: (520) 318-8360



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