We are excited to write this first entry to the Red Dots’ photometry log!
Our aim is to keep you regularly updated on the progress of the photometric observations that will take place at the same time as the main spectroscopic campaign with HARPS.
All M dwarf stars, such as Proxima Cen, Barnard’s and Ross 154, suffer from stellar variability arising from different sources, that can lead to Doppler signals that may be taken for planets. Thus, a signal simultaneously present in both the Doppler and photometric data would be immediately dismissed as caused by a planet, and most likely produced by the presence of magnetic spots on the surface of the star that reveal its rotation period. Therefore, quasi simultaneous photometry will be key to assist in the interpretation of any signal detected on the radial velocities obtained with HARPS.
Besides, spots, flares, and convective activity on the surface of the star are colour dependent, so photometric observations in different wavelength band passes would help in the interpretation and characterization of the variability.
To this aim, several observatories have engaged in the photometric follow-up of Proxima Cen, Barnard’s and Ross 154, the three targets of the Red Dots 2017 ...