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A STEP: An Antarctica Search for Transiting Extrasolar Planets

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  • Physical
  • Chemical
  • Mathematical & Earth Sciences :: Space Science
  • Astronomy & Astrophysics [G05]
  • Physique
  • Chimie
  • Mathématiques & Sciences De La Terre :: Aérospatiale
  • Astronomie & Astrophysique [G05]


8369.PDF A STEP: AN ANTARCTICA SEARCH FOR TRANSITING EXTRASOLAR PLANETS. F. Fressin1, T. Guillot1, F. Bouchy2, A. Erikson3, J. Gay1, M. Gillon4, A. Léger5, C. Moutou2, F. Pont6, H. Rauer3, and J.-P. Rivet1, 1Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur, CNRS UMR 6202, 06304 Nice, France ([email protected]), 2Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Marseille, BP 8, Les Trois Lucs, 13376 Marseille Cedex 12, France, 3DLR Institute of Planetary Research, Rutherfordstr. 2, 12489 Berlin, Germany, 4Institut d'Astrophysique et de Géophysique, Université de Liège, Allée du 6 Août, 17, Bat. B5C, Liège 1, Belgium, 5Institut d'Astrophysique Spatiale, UMR 8617, Université Paris XI, 91405 Orsay Cedex, France, 6Observatoire de Genève, 51 ch. des Maillettes, 1290 Sauverny, Switzerland. We present ASTEP, a project dedicated to the search for planetary transits from Dome C, Antartica. The site has crucial advantages for a ground-based exoplanet transit search: a 3-months long night during the antarctic winter with almost no clouds and no precipitation. Using theoretical simulations of the yield of transit surveys, we attempt optimize the program to provide the largest number of detection for a given cost. However, the significance of systematic errors linked to variations of the temperature, the pointing, the seeing...etc., as well as unknowns such as the variations of the sky brightness, the noise due to moonlight and to auroras at Dome C currently prevents obtaining a robust, definitive answer to the question of the detection strategy. Our project is a first step towards an ambitious transit search program at Dome C, possibly competing with a similar program from space, if the site is as excellent as it currently seems, based on summer qualification campaigns and preliminary winter measurements done by the LUAN (University of Nice-Sophia Antipolis) team. We thus propose to simultaneously qualify the Dome C site for transit detection and obtain scientifically significant detections at a modest cost using a fully automatic 40

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