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First Discoveries of the Galactic Plane Exoplanet Survey (GPX)

Published onJun 01, 2020
First Discoveries of the Galactic Plane Exoplanet Survey (GPX)

Using readily available amateur equipment, a wide-field telescope (Celestron RASA, 279 mm f/2.2) coupled with a FLI ML16200 camera, was set up at a private residence in a fairly light polluted suburban town 30 miles outside of Boston, MA, USA. This telescope first participated in the Kourovka Planet Search (KPS) prototype survey and now currently constitutes the Galactic Plane eXoplanet Survey (GPX). One of the first goals of the GPX survey was to determine if higher resolution imaging (~2 arcsec/pixel) with much lower sky coverage can practically detect exoplanet transits in the fields with high star density in the Milky Way compared to the successful very wide-field exoplanet surveys (KELT, WASP, HATnet, etc.) and the TESS space telescope exoplanet survey. The first discovery was KPS-1b, a transiting hot Jupiter orbiting a star slightly smaller than the sun. KPS-1b is similar in mass and radius to Jupiter (Mp = 1.09 MJup, Rp = 1.03 RJup) and has an orbital period of 1.706 days. The host star is similar to our sun with mass and radius (M* = 0.89 M, R* = 0.91 R) [1]. The second discovery was GPX-1b, a transiting brown dwarf orbiting a F star. GPX-1b was not detected by TESS auto transit detection algorithms as the host star was <1 arcmin away from a brighter star, which diluted the transit signal. GPX-1b characteristics are Mp = 19.6 MJup, Rp = 1.4 RJup, and it has an orbital period of 1.74 days. The host star is a young, fast-rotating F star with mass and radius of M* = 1.68 M, R* = 1.55 R [2]. The third discovery was GPX-TF16E-48, a pre-cataclysmic binary consisting of a transiting white dwarf–K7 star system. What is interesting is that photometric observations in different bands revealed that the maximum depth of the eclipse is in the red filters (r’ and Rc), which is unusual for a transiting white dwarf–K7 binary, and may indicate white dwarf accretion activity [3]. References: [1] Burdanov, et al., PASP, 130:074401, 2018. [2] Benni, et al., publication pending. [3] Krushinsky, et al., MNRAS, 493(4), 2020, 5208-17.

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