Confirming the Existence of K2 Candidate Exoplanets Using the Transit Method

  • Anoushka Chintada Aspiring Scientists' Summer Internship Program, 2019
  • Sherrie Feng Aspiring Scientists' Summer Internship Program, 2019
  • Dr. Peter Plavchan Department of Physics and Astronomy, College of Science, George Mason University
  • Justin Wittrock Department of Physics and Astronomy, College of Science, George Mason University

Abstract

Currently, there are about 4,000 exoplanets that have been discovered and confirmed. Exoplanets, or extrasolar planets, are planets found outside the solar system orbiting other stars. The primary purpose of the Kepler satellite is to detect exoplanets orbiting sun-like stars by detecting dips in brightness (called the transit method); the goal is to detect and characterize earth-sized planets in the Habitable Zone. Researchers involved in following up the K2 mission, a subset of the Kepler mission, perform on-ground experiments to validate the detection of an exoplanet orbiting the star. Using George Mason University’s campus telescope, we have monitored multiple transits of K2 candidate exoplanets and have analyzed the transits of exoplanets EPIC 219388192.01 and EPIC 250001426.01. Here we show that exoplanet EPIC 219388192.01 can likely be confirmed and that while exoplanet EPIC 250001426.01 has a very shallow transit and cannot be confirmed, we can likely rule out that this system has a background eclipsing binary. Once properly formatted and analyzed, the results will be published to the ExoFOP community for further research.

 

 

Published
2019-11-19
Section
Abstracts from the 2019 Aspiring Scientists' Summer Internship Program