DPS Pasadena Meeting 2000, 23-27 October 2000
Session 32. Extra-Solar Planets Posters
Displayed, 1:00pm, Monday - 1:00pm, Friday, Highlighted Tuesday and Thursday, 3:30-6:30pm, C101-C105, C211

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[32.04] Key Steps in Processing CCD Photometric Data to Detect Transits of Earth-Size Planets

J.M. Jenkins (SETI Institute), D.G. Koch, W.J. Borucki (NASA Ames Reseach Center), F. Witteborn (Orbital Sciences Corp.), E.W. Dunham (Lowell Observatory)

We have performed end-to-end laboratory simulations to demonstrate the capability of differential photometry under realistic operating conditions to detect transits of Earth-size planets orbiting solar-like stars. Data acquisition and processing were conducted using the same methods planned for the proposed \emph{Kepler Mission}. These included performing aperture photometry on large-format CCD images of an artificial star field obtained without a shutter at a readout rate of 1 megapixel/sec, detecting and removing cosmic rays from individual exposures and making the necessary corrections for nonlinearity and shutterless operation in the absence of darks. We will discuss the image processing tasks performed to obtain raw photometry, and the data processing and analysis tasks conducted to correct for systematic errors such as image motion to obtain lightcurves from the raw data and to characterize the detectability of transits. These simulations demonstrate that a system-level differential photometric precision of 10-5 on 6.5-hour intervals can be achieved under realistic conditions.

This work was supported with funding from the NASA Discovery Program, NASA Origins Program and NASA Ames Research Center.

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