PI: Steve B. Howell, NOAO, firstname.lastname@example.org
Address: KPNO, 950 N. Cherry Ave., Tucson, AZ 85726, US
CoI: Elliott Horch, Southern Conneticut State University
CoI: William Sherry, NSO
CoI: David Ciardi, Caltech
Title: Speckle Imaging of Kepler and CoRoT Exo-planet Transit Candidate Stars
Abstract: Kepler and CoRoT are complementary space missions dedicated to the detection of exoplanets. The primary science goal of CoRoT is to find Neptune-sized (>3 Earth radii) planets in intermediate orbits, while the prime science goal of Kepler is to find Earth-sized planets (<3 Earth radii) in year-long orbits. Both missions employ the photometric transit method and both spacecraft are performing well with nominal operation of the spacecraft, telescopes, electronics, and instruments. As with ground-based surveys, Kepler and CoRoT candidates need to be screened for background eclipsing binary stars which, when photometrically blended with the primary target, can mimic exo-planetary transits. The list of candidate transiting planets found by Kepler/CoRoT requires follow-up to ascertain probable or certain exo- planet detection. While Earth-sized (and Neptune-sized in long orbital periods) exo-planets can not currently (easily) be confirmed from the ground, many of the false positive eliminations steps can be performed by ground-based observations. Follow-up for Kepler exo-planet candidates is now aimed at Neptune-size and smaller planets in longer period orbits. This proposal aims to obtain high resolution speckle imaging to observe Kepler/CoRoT exo-planet transit candidates in order to eliminate the largest false positive contributor in any transit search - background eclipsing binary stars or faint companion stars.
National Optical Astronomy Observatory, 950 North Cherry Avenue, P.O. Box 26732, Tucson, Arizona 85726, Phone: (520) 318-8000, Fax: (520) 318-8360