AAS 206th Meeting, 29 May - 2 June 2005
Session 23 Stars and Observing Them
Oral, Monday, 2:00-3:30pm, May 30, 2005, 102 B

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[23.03] The Rothney Astrophysical Observatory's Wide Field Variable Star Search Program

M. D. Williams, E. F. Milone (RAO, U Calgary)

We describe a variable star search program being carried out on a 0.5-m f/1 Patrol Camera at the RAO. The detector is a 4Kx4K chip mounted in an FLI camera, purchased by P. Brown (UWO). The 4.4 by 4.4 deg. image frames provide stellar images of ~2 pixels (FWHM). Results from the first well-studied night sequence reveal a significant number of apparently real variability detections. The search covers stars in a range of 11-14 magnitudes in the natural system (approximately Johnson-Cousins R). In the first field studied there are ~8500 stars in this range, with average 1 sigma errors of 0.05 magnitudes. We expect to achieve 1 sigma errors smaller than 0.02 magn. for stars brighter than ~12 magn. Results show that we are close to the predicted noise levels with 1100 stars within this precision limit. There are 75 stars that have 1 sigma errors below 0.01 magnitude. This level of precision allows for the detection of hot Jupiter transits that have a decrease in brightness on the order of 0.03 magnitudes (or less).

The Patrol Camera is a former Baker-Nunn satellite tracking camera, modified by DFM Engineering as part of a retrofit supervised by M.J. Mazur, in a collaboration funded by grants from the Alberta Science Research Authority (to EFM), and others. The survey is being carried out by MDW as part of his PhD program and is being supported in part by NSERC grants to EFM and the University of Calgary Department of Physics & Astronomy.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: williamd@ucalgary.ca

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #2
© 2005. The American Astronomical Soceity.