AAS 197, January 2001
Session 62. Detecting and Characterizing Extrasolar Planets
Oral, Tuesday, January 9, 2001, 1:30-3:00pm, Golden Ballroom

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[62.07] Detection of Terrestrial Planets Using Transit Photometry

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

Transit photometry detection of planets offers many advantages: an ability to detect terrestrial-size planets, direct determination of the planetís size, applicability to all main-sequence stars, and a periodic signature (differential brightness change) being independent of stellar distance or planetary orbital semi-major axis. Ground and space based photometry have already been successful in detecting transits of the giant planet HD209458b (Charbonneau, et al. 2000, Castellano et al. 2000 and references therein). However, photometry 100 times better is required to detect terrestrial planets. We present results of measurements of an end-to-end photometric system incorporating all of the important confounding noise features of both the sky and a spacebased photometer including spacecraft jitter. In addition to demonstrating an instrumental noise of less than 10 ppm per transit (an Earth transit of a solar-like star is 80 ppm), the brightnesses of individual stars were dimmed to simulate Earth-size transit signals. These "transits" were reliably detected as part of the tests. Funding for this work was provided by NASA's Discovery and Origins programs and by NASA Ames.

Charbonneau, D.; Brown, T.M.; Latham, D.W.; Mayor, M., ApJ, 529, L45, 2000.

Castellano, T., Jenkins, J., Trilling, D. E., Doyle, L., and Koch, D., ApJ Let. 532, L51-L53 (2000)

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The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: dkoch@mail.arc.nasa.gov

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