PI: Steve B. Howell, NASA ARC, firstname.lastname@example.org
Address: Astrophysics, P.O. Box 1 M/S 244-30, Moffett Field, CA 94035, US
CoI: Mark Everett, NOAO
CoI: Elliott Horch, Southern Connecticut State University
CoI: David Ciardi, Caltech/NexSci
Title: Speckle and Lucky imaging of Kepler Exoplanet Candidate Host Stars
Abstract: Kepler monitors 150,000+ stars and detects candidate transiting planets by their light curve signatures. In order to measure planet sizes, and to distinguish true planets from eclipsing binaries, it is necessary to account for all stars whose profiles blend together and contribute flux to Kepler's photometry. Some blends can be detected and false positives eliminated based on Kepler data alone, but in many cases high resolution ground-based imaging is needed to accurately map out the brightness and location of multiple stars to model their effects on the light curves. Earth-sized exoplanets, esp. those in long period orbits, are hard to confirm from the ground and for most, radial velocities will not be forthcoming. To eliminate false positives and confirm these planets, the mission relies on ground-based imaging coupled with the Kepler data itself and model techniques. Kepler will begin its extended mission in 2012B and focus only on small planets, 2.5R_e or less, and the highest priority need for ground-based follow- up is high resolution optical imaging. This imaging is needed in order to find any spatially close companion stars and eliminate the largest false positive contributor - (background) eclipsing binary stars or variable faint companion stars. Additionally, third-light dilution of true planet transits can lead to an underestimate of the exoplanet radii and masses by 10-15% and 60% or more respectively.
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