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Transit Analysis of HATS-4 b by Citizen Scientists

Presentation #523.01 in the session “Education and Public Outreach I: Citizen Science, Visualizations, and Public Engagement”.

Published onJan 11, 2021
Transit Analysis of HATS-4 b by Citizen Scientists

Exoplanets are planets that orbit stars other than our sun, and the most common way of detecting them is by the transit method. This method consists of plotting the relative brightness of the exoplanet’s host star against a comparison star to make what is known as a light curve. Periodic dips in the light curve could correspond to the exoplanet coming in front of its host star, and blocking some of its light. One value of great importance to constantly keep up to date is the exoplanet’s mid-transit time. The mid-transit time is the time in which the exoplanet is in the middle of its transit; however, the problem with this value is that it changes over many periods due to the uncertainty in the period of the planet. Thus, it is important to update transit timings as incorrect timings can hinder observations from expensive telescopes. Crowdsourcing exoplanet transit analysis is a great opportunity to help these large telescopes and get the community involved in exoplanet research. In this study, six citizen scientists from the East Bay Astronomical Society (EAS) performed a transit analysis of HATS-4 b using the Exoplanet Transit Interpretation Code (EXOTIC). Using newly calculated mid-transit times, we were able to see how off the expected mid-transit time based on the existing mid-transit time on the NASA Exoplanet Archive was by calculating the phase difference.

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