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Thread: Transit method

  1. #1 Transit method 
    Forum Bachelors Degree PetTastic's Avatar
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    When people are looking for planets using the transit method, do they also seen dimming caused by sun spots and clouds/storms on the stars surface?


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  3. #2  
    Comet Dust Collector Moderator
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    Yes they do. That's one reason it takes at least 3 transits to confirm that it's a real planet and not some stellar process. There is a difference in the shape of the dimming caused by a planet as well, so that helps to differentiate between the effects. Also some stars pulsate, so their brightness changes regularly or irregularly.

    That's one reason Kepler has only 35 confirmed planets out of 2326 candidates. It takes a lot of followup to confirm the transits, and rule out other potential causes.
    MW

    Edit to add Kepler Discovery Page: http://kepler.nasa.gov/Mission/discoveries/

    and Extrasolar Planets Catalog (See Transiting Planets section)

    The Extrasolar Planets Encyclopaedia

    Transiting planets
    update : 16 January 2012

    183 planetary systems
    202 planets
    18 multiple planet systems


    Last edited by MeteorWayne; January 20th, 2012 at 09:14 AM.
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    Yeah like meteorwayne said they are looking for a regular pattern of dimming (as the planet blocks some of the light from the star). We can calculate the planets radius, period/distance from the star by looking at repeated dimmings, and finally the composition of the planet's atmosphere.
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    Well, the atmospheric composition is a lot harder. The signal is VERY weak. it my require hundreds or thousands of transits to excede the noise level, and few will get that much effort with limited telescope time available.
    Last edited by MeteorWayne; January 20th, 2012 at 07:51 PM. Reason: typo
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  6. #5  
    Forum Bachelors Degree PetTastic's Avatar
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    Thank

    I was just wondering if some of the rejects were interesting stars.
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  7. #6  
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    Found this snippet on the BBC web site,
    "Amateur astronomer Chris Holmes form Peterborough stumbled upon SPH10066540
    Chris Holmes from Peterborough found it by looking through time-lapsed images of stars on Planethunters.org.
    The website hosts data gathered by Nasa's Kepler space telescope, and asks volunteers to sift the information for anything unusual that might have been missed in a computer search. "

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    Quote Originally Posted by PetTastic View Post
    Thank

    I was just wondering if some of the rejects were interesting stars.
    Oh yes, lots of them. The Kepler data will be in the analysis pipeline for decades, looking at both planets and stars
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