NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2017A-0053

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Program Information for 2017A-0053


PI: Mark Giampapa, National Solar Observatory, giampapa@nso.edu
Address: National Solar Observatory, 950 N. Cherry Ave./POB 26732, Tucson, AZ 85726-6732 USA

CoI: Steve B Howell, NASA Ames Research Center
CoI: Derek Buzasi, Florida Gulf Coast University

Title: Seeing SPOTS with NESSI: Starspot Photometric Observations of Transiting Systems

Abstract: The next steps beyond the discovery of new worlds outside of our solar system are to characterize their atmospheres and explore the prospects of habitability. Enhanced far UV emittance and hard particle radiation arising from stellar magnetic activity can profoundly influence the structure and evolution of exoplanet atmospheres and shape their climates. Exoplanets themselves now offer the opportunity to serve as unique probes of stellar surface activity at high spatial resolutions. We propose herein to utilize WIYN/NESSI to obtain multi- color photometry during exoplanet transits. These time-critical observations will enable us to directly obtain information on the physical properties of fundamental constituents of stellar surface magnetism in a way that heretofore has been much more poorly constrained with the single-color broadband data available from $Kepler$ and CoRoT. In addition, the results will yield further quantitative insights on the impact of distortions of the transit light curve on exoplanet size determinations due to surface activity. A knowledge of starspot properties can potentially yield improved corrections to measurements of exoplanet radii from photometric transits. This is especially critical given that the fractional error in exoplanet radius determinations translates to a factor of three increase in the error in estimates of mean exoplanet density (for a given mass) with significant consequences for the development of accurate exoplanet models.

Program Type: Standard/NASA WIYN

Scheduled Nights:
Run 1 (2017A):  WIYNQ/NESSI -- 4hrs


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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