Cassandra Fallscheer (Physics)
With the growth of astrophysics research surrounding extrasolar planets, determining the detection capabilities of the Central Washington University Discovery Hall Observatory’s 0.6-m Telescope will grant students a greater understanding of the research opportunities at CWU for this field. Utilizing the following stellar systems with confirmed extra-solar planets: HAT-P-18, HAT-P-32, and Kepler-20, images of these systems and their associated star field were captured. Stellar magnitudes of each of the three parent stars in this study were measured over 11 nights from 1 October 2020 through 12 March 2021. The resulting light curves are consistent with the transit depth and transit length associated with the exoplanets HAT-P-32b and Kepler-20c indicating possible detection of these exoplanets. The next steps of this project are the detailed analysis and utilization of that analysis to determine a theoretical limit for how small an extrasolar planet can be before it’s undetectable by the 0.6m telescope.
Keywords: Astronomy, Exoplanets, Detection