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M. Lopez-Morales (Carnegie Institution of Washington)
I present the results of a three-day test campaign at the 1-m Swope telescope in Las Campanas Observatory, aimed at achieving millimag precision photometry of bright stars (V < 9.0). The results show that, by placing a concentric diaphragm in front of the aperture of the telescope, it is possible to avoid saturation, and to achieve a photometric precision of 0.0008-0.0010 mags per data point (candence < 4 min). It is also possible to achieve an overall precision of 0.0015 or better over time series of six hours or more. The photometric precision of this setup is only limited by scintillation. Future work plans include reducing the level of scintillation, and therefore improve the photometric precision, by replacing the aperture diaphragm by neutral density filters. Given that the expected median depth of extrasolar planet transits is 0.01 mags, and that they typically last several hours, these tests show that the Swope telescope can be used to detect planet transits around bright planet-hosting stars in the southern hemisphere.
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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #4
© 2005. The American Astronomical Soceity.