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Observing exoplanet candidates from K2

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Observing exoplanet candidates from K2


I'm a volunteer on Zooniverse - Exoplanet Explorers project where I've classified nearly 60.000 light curves. And I'm also an observer of exoplanet transits with my own equipment. I found that there are many (over 5) potential planets which I could detect myself, but they are still not confirmed (mostly unlisted candidates on NASA Kepler, but they are marked somewhere else). For example, the latest HATS-36 b, which causes a 0.015 mag of a 12.5 mag star. They have used K2 data for the confirmation and I had two months (April-June 2017) to catch it before it was confirmed.

And the question is - is it worth observing these with my own equipment? I'm unable to get detailed light curves, but the brightness change could be detected. I use ASI178MM-c and Canon FD 300mm f/2.8L for this and I'm able to reach transits down to 15th magnitude (0.03 mag of depth in this level, the limit is the aperture). We have very good graphs from Kepler, so this won't give much useful information about the planet.The only one thing is, I would eventually observe an exoplanet before it was confirmed. Does this observation count somewhere to get credited, or something? What can I do later, if I observe at least one transit?

I could use current K2 data to predict next candidate transits and focus only on these.



Yes, please check predicted transits

I would say that it is a solid scientific project to observe candidates at the times of predicted transits. If you detect a dip in the light curve at the predicted time -- or, even better, dips at 2 predicted times -- you can not only confirm the reality of the planet, but also improve our value for its period.

The question is, where can you report your measurements so that others can see them? I'm afraid that I'm not a real exoplanet researcher, so these are just guesses. If the Kepler team has any sort of tool on their website for reporting measurements, that would clearly be a good place. Possibly you might submit a brief paper to the the International Bulletin of Variable Stars. Another possibility is simply to write a report and submit it to arXiv; that might require minor sort of validation, but certainly nothing like a full peer review procedure.

I hope that other AAVSO members with more information on the exoplanet community will provide better guidance here. But I do urge you to make the observations.

PVEA's picture
Observing exoplanet candidates from K2

Hi Gabriel,

You can contribute to:



Thanks! I had chance to

Thanks! I had chance to observe transit of a candidate from C13 with period of ~11 days. A few months later it's planetary origin had been confirmed. Currently I'm only waiting for paper details, leaded by professional astronomers, as this observation will be also included. I contributed to ExoFOP, with support from Dr Jessie Christiansen.

That's a good way to test possibilities for upcoming TESS mission. Ground-based observations will be even more needed than current for Kepler. More attempts are coming soon!



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