A predictive algorithm for planning observation of transiting exoplanets in eclipsing binary stars : an honors thesis (HONRS 499)

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Authors
Moorhead, Kenneth M.
Advisor
Kaitchuck, Ronald H.
Issue Date
2009
Keyword
Degree
Thesis (B.?.)
Department
Honors College
Other Identifiers
Abstract

The search for planets outside our solar system is vital for models of planetary formation. However, the relative size of a planet in comparison with its star and the difficulties created by line-of-sight geometry complicate detection, causing most information available to be a result of large sample wide field surveys. Based on reasonable assumptions of planetary formation, eclipsing binary stars are strong candidates for transit detection because they overcome the geometrical difficulties and also provide observers with a definite timeframe after which they may conclude that no planet of detectable size exists. Building upon the recent work of Ball State University master's program graduate Joe Childers that allowed our project to reach the conclusions mentioned prior, I have created a software algorithm that will determine when the most appropriate times for observation will occur so as to utilize telescope time more efficiently across multiple targets.