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Adaptive Optics Follow-up Observations

25 Sep 2011, 23:48 UTC
Adaptive Optics Follow-up Observations
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Today’s blog post come’s from guest blogger Justin Crepp, co-author on our first Planet Hunters paper. Justin is an expert in adaptive optics and fellow planet hunter. He’s going to tell you more about the observations he carried out to help follow up our planet candidates.
Dear Planet Hunters,
Thank you for your diligent work identifying new Kepler planet candidates!
I am a postdoc at Caltech and my job (normally) entails searching for exoplanets using high-contrast imaging, a technique that involves trying to “take a picture” of faint companions in orbit around bright stars. As you can imagine, this is a challenging task: it requires adaptive optics to correct for the blurring effects of Earth’s turbulent atmosphere (as well as other hardware and some advanced data processing). Ironically, the same technology that I use to detect planets directly can also help to find transiting planets. By eliminating false-positives with imaging observations, we can dramatically reduce the likelihood that a nearby object, such as an eclipsing binary star, is mimicking the periodic signal of a transiting planet. In other words, I am often very anxious to see faint points of light next to bright stars, but, in the case of Kepler ...

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