Exoplanet Watch is a citizen science project to observe transiting exoplanets, planets outside of our solar system, with small telescopes. A transiting exoplanet is one that periodically passes in front of its host star, causing the star to slightly dim (~1%). Observing exoplanet transits are important as they allow us to directly measure the planet’s radius and composition. Exoplanet Watch will directly help increase the efficiency of large telescopes by decreasing the uncertainty in the predicted time of a transit event.
Exoplanet Watch will:
- Ensure Efficient Use of Large Telescopes – more accurately predict the next transit event for follow-up with large telescope (e.g., HST, JWST, and ARIEL)
- Discover New Exoplanets – using transit timing variations to infer the existence of an additional exoplanet in a Extrasolar System
- Search for Blended Pairs – spatially-resolve a field to confirm the radius of a newly-discovered exoplanet
- Monitor Stellar Variability – spots and plages of a host star can alter the observed exoplanet’s signal
- Confirm New Exoplanets – can help confirm newly-discovered exoplanets
While Exoplanet Watch is scheduled to officially launch in Summer 2020, we are looking for Beta Testers who can start observing exoplanets and help test our in-house data reduction code, EXOTIC, that will fully reduce raw fits files or pre-reduced data and fit them with a model transit.
If interested, please contact project lead Rob Zellem.