AAS 195th Meeting, January 2000
Session 109. Extrasolar Planets and Low Mass Objects
Display, Saturday, January 15, 2000, 9:20am-4:00pm, Grand Hall

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[109.08] A Search for Trojan Planets: A Novel Approach for Looking for Transits of Extrasolar Planets

D.B. Caton, S.A. Davis (Appalachian State University), B.D. Walls (NOAO/Gemini)

Planets can and should exist in eclipsing binary systems and may have in fact been detected in the system CM Draconis (Guinan, IAUC 6423, 1996 and Deeg et al., A&A 338, 1998.) We are developing a project to monitor a number of eclipsing binaries for photometric detection of transits of planets. In the case of CM Dra (not one of our targets), the planet/s' orbit/s have not been determined, making it impossible to know when to expect an eclipse. We are trying the novel approach of looking for transits about 60 degrees ahead and behind the primary stellar eclipse, on the chance that a "Trojan planet" is found in the L4 or L5 Lagrangian points of the stellar orbit. While no systems are known that satisfy the strict stellar mass ratio (<0.0347) of the restricted three-body solution (to assure stability), if a system had a planet form at one of these points with no other perturbing bodies, it should remain there. Our program is looking at several systems selected on the basis of deep primary stellar eclipses, to maximize the depth of the planetary transit event as well. In our pilot project we have determined the ephemerides and eclipse shapes for these largely understudied systems and have worked to develop the precision CCD photometry techniques. Several runs across the relevant phases of some of the target systems have already been obtained, but many more runs are planned to provide enough data for binning to reduce the noise. A great deal of careful, final data reduction also still remains to be completed. We report here on the idea, the design considerations for data acquisition and analysis, and the status of the project.

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://www.acs.appstate.edu/dept/physics/caton/Trojan/Trojan.htm. This link was provided by the author. When you follow it, you will leave the Web site for this meeting; to return, you should use the Back comand on your browser.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: catondb@appstate.edu

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