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The analysis and removal of systematic trends in stereo’s HI-1A photometry and a search for planetary transits

Whittaker, Gemma Nicole (2014)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Abstract

STEREO’S imager, HI-1A, monitors nearly 500,000 stars down to 4th magnitude as it orbits the Sun. The resulting light curves offer unique characteristics and repeatability, which could make significant contributions to stellar variability surveys and the hunt for transiting planets.
The HI-1A trend removal pipeline (TRP) was constructed to counteract systematic and observationsal effects and thereby increase the potential of a transit search. This pipeline uses a non-linear iterative filter to provide an adaptable noise-reduction process, without effecting transit-like signals. The TRP reduces the point-to-point scatter by up to 50 % for the brightest targets (R ≤ 6) and 25 % for the faintest (R ≥ 9).
The correlated noise on transit timescales was found to be negligible for most targets and only 20 % of the total noise for the brightest stars, which amount to < 3 % of the sample.
In an automated search for planet candidates, several transit signals were detected in the HI-1A light curves. Further testing suggests that none of these were veritable planet candidates. However the results show that Neptune-sized planets are certainly detectable and that a more effective reduction of solar-noise will lead to a successful planet search in the future.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Stevens, Ian
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Engineering & Physical Sciences
Department:School of Physics and Astronomy
Subjects:QB Astronomy
QC Physics
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:5054
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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