NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2009A-0289

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Proposal Information for 2009A-0289


PI: Stephen Kane, NASA Exoplanet Science Institute, Caltech, skane@ipac.caltech.edu
Address: 770 South Wilson Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA

CoI: Kaspar von Braun, NASA Exoplanet Science Institute, Caltech
CoI: Greg Laughlin, University of California, Santa Cruz

Title: Photometric monitoring of known southern exoplanets for transit signatures

Abstract: Of the known transiting extra-solar planets, several have been detected through photometric follow-up of planets discovered by the radial velocity technique (e.g., HD 209458b). 10% of transiting planets with periods less than ~ 5 days transit their parent star due to a favorable geometric system orientation. Radial velocity curves of known planets can be used to predict transit times and thus construct an optimized photometric follow-up strategy. One is then only limited by the photometric precision achievable by the chosen telescope/instrument and small uncertainties in the timing of the transit. Many of the southern hemisphere planet host stars have not been adequately monitored photometrically in order to confirm or rule out transits of the planet. We propose to use the CTIO 0.9m to conduct a photometric survey of these exoplanet host stars to search for transit signatures. We produce transit ephemerides and optimal observing windows for each of the known radial velocity planets observable from CTIO with a sufficiently high transit probability and signal-to-noise ratio. We will optimize our observing run such that we monitor individual targets for as long as possible during a given night to gather data in and out of eclipse as well as ingress and egress, if possible. In combination with literature radial velocity data, we can thus fully characterize the planetary system if a transit occurs. In the case of a null detection, our photometry is used to place constraints on orbital and astrophysical parameters of the planet.


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