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Survey of Transiting Extrasolar Planets at the University of Pittsburgh

Good, Melanie Lynn (2011) Survey of Transiting Extrasolar Planets at the University of Pittsburgh. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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In the past two decades, a wealth of planets and planetary candidates orbiting other stars have been discovered and are awaiting more follow-up study to further characterize them. To pursue such follow-up avenues, I recruited a research team of undergraduate collabo- rators for a pro ject we named Survey of Transiting Extrasolar Planets at the University of Pittsburgh (STEPUP). Since its inception in August 2009, STEPUP has investigated both known planets and planetary candidates, making use of the Allegheny Observatory's 16" Meade LX-400 ACF telescope. In total we have taken 90 nights' worth of data, ob- serving 17 stars hosting known or suspected substellar companions. We have been able to confirm transits of known gas giant planets such as XO-2b, TrES-2b, and HD80606b. In fact, our observations of HD806060b contributed to an international ground-based effort to collaboratively observe this long transit, a collaboration which demonstrated the success of coordinating observations across geographical distances. Our transit detections indicate our ability to obtain relative photometric precision of roughly 1%. In addition to studying known transiting planets, STEPUP has worked with the SDSS-III MARVELS team to search for transits of planetary candidates, which, if detected could help confirm the planetary nature of those candidates.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Good, Melanie
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairWood-Vasey, W. Michaelwmwv@pitt.eduWMWV
Committee MemberKosowsky, Arthurkosowsky@pitt.eduKOSOWSKY
Committee MemberNaples, Donnadnaples@pitt.eduDNAPLES
Date: 14 September 2011
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 27 July 2011
Approval Date: 14 September 2011
Submission Date: 12 August 2011
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Physics
Degree: MS - Master of Science
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: astronomy; exoplanet; extrasolar planet; photometry; planet
Other ID:, etd-08122011-222923
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:59
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:48


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