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Characterization of Kepler eclipsing binaries and search for circumbinary planets [Renewal]

Completed Technology Project

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Characterization of Kepler eclipsing binaries and search for circumbinary planets [Renewal]
The majority of main sequence (MS) and pre-MS stars reside in binaries or multiples. Constructing a general framework for planet formation therefore requires a statistical sample of planets around all modes of stellar multiplicity. Currently, only 8 systems with transiting circumbinary planets (CBPs) are known. These CBPs are all giant planets with large transit signals detected by eye. For this project, we intend to use Kepler data and automate the search procedure to detect smaller CBPs by increasing the significance with detection of multiple transit events. There are over 2800 eclipsing binaries (EBs) in the Kepler catalogue. We intend to search for CBP transit signatures in three phases. First, we will perform simultaneous fits to time-series (Kepler Q1-Q17) and multi-band (Howell-Everett UBV + SDSS griz + 2MASS JHK + Wise 1 and 2) photometry to constrain EB stellar and orbital parameters. We will then use those results to apply dynamical corrections due to binary motion and resample the lightcurves such that planetary transits are periodic, i.e., evenly spaced in resampled time. Finally, we will employ the Quasi-periodic Automated Transit Search algorithm (Carter & Agol 2013) with the reduced inter-transit duration variations, which increases the detection significance, to look for CBPs. More »

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