AAS Meeting #194 - Chicago, Illinois, May/June 1999
Session 103. Instrumentation, Simulation Databases and Astronomical Organizations
Oral, Thursday, June 3, 1999, 2:00-3:30pm, Waldorf

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[103.09] An Experiment for Simulated Detection of Earth-Size Planetary Transits

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

The concept for detection of Earth-size planets by looking for transits has been described by Borucki and Summers (1984). A space mission for detecting hundreds of Earth-size planets has been described by Koch, et al. (1998). The method depends on reliably detecting a relative change in brightness of order 8x10-5. Prior laboratory measurements have demonstrated this level of relative precision using CCDs (Robinson, et al., 1995, Jenkins, et al., 1997). A higher fidelity experiment is now being constructed to detect simulated Earth-size transits using a flight-type CCD. In addition, the experiment incorporates many of the major confounding factors which could affect the detection capability including: spacecraft jitter, a realistic star background, thermal changes, stellar variability, cosmic-ray hits, etc. Details of the experiment are presented including the method for producing the equivalent of earth-size transit signals.

Borucki, W. J. and Summers, A.L., Icarus 58, 121 (1984)

Jenkins, J. M., Borucki, W. J., Dunham, E. W. and McDonald, J. S., High Precision Photometry with Back-Illuminated CCDs, In Proceedings of the Planets Beyond Our Solar System and Next Generation Space Telescope, ASP Conf Ser ,119, 227-280 (1997)

Koch, D., Borucki, W., Webster, L., Dunham, E. , Jenkins, J., Marriott, J. and Reitsema, H., SPIE 3356, Space Telescopes and Instruments V, 599-607, March (1998)

Robinson, L. B, M. Z. Wei, W. J. Borucki, E.W. Dunham, C. H. Ford, and A. F. Granados. PASP 107, 1094-1098 (1995)

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