AAS 198th Meeting, June 2001
Session 86. The Sun, Extrasolar Planets and Dwarf Stars
Oral, Thursday, June 7, 2001, 2:00-3:30pm, C104

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[86.05] The Impact of Stellar Variability on the Detection of Transiting Terrestrial Planets

J.M. Jenkins (SETI Institute), D.A. Caldwell (N.R.C./NASA Ames Research Center), W.J. Borucki, D.G. Koch (NASA Ames Research Center), Kepler Mission Team

The proposed \emph{Kepler Mission} seeks to apply transit photometry to determine the frequency, sizes, and orbital characteristics of terrestrial-size (and larger) planets around a variety of stellar types. As Earth-size transits of solar-like stars are small (~100 ppm), the issue of stellar variability (as well as instrumental precision) is important. Here we examine recent measurements by the DIARAD/VIRGO instrument aboard SOHO to estimate the impact of stellar variability on the detectability of transits by Earth-size planets of solar-like stars. The stellar variability is combined with shot noise and expected instrumental noise to assess the detectability of transits against the total expected noise. We investigate the effectiveness of two different adaptive detection algorithms in detecting transits in the synthetic photometric data, one based on an asymptotically-optimal periodogram-based approach, and the other based on an overcomplete wavelet transform-based method. About 100,000 stars will be surveyed for transiting planets with periods from a few days to two years. This establishes a detection threshold of ~7 \sigma for no more than one false alarm for the entire experiment, based on the ~1012 effective independent statistical tests performed in searching for these planets. Monte Carlo simulations were performed to establish the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves for these detection algorithms. We present the results, which demonstrate that \emph{Kepler} will be able to detect a large fraction of Earth-size planets transiting solar-like stars in its field of view.

This work was supported in part by NASA's Discovery Program.

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to www.kepler.arc.nasa.gov. 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: jjenkins@mail.arc.nasa.gov

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