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The Challenge of Wide-Field Transit Surveys: The Case of GSC 01944-02289

  • Mandushev, Georgi
  • Torres, Guillermo
  • Latham, David W.
  • Charbonneau, David
  • Alonso, Roi
  • White, Russel J.
  • Stefanik, Robert P.
  • Dunham, Edward W.
  • Brown, Timothy M.
  • O'Donovan, Francis T.
Published Article
Publication Date
Jan 25, 2005
Submission Date
Jan 25, 2005
DOI: 10.1086/427727
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Wide-field searches for transiting extra-solar giant planets face the difficult challenge of separating true transit events from the numerous false positives caused by isolated or blended eclipsing binary systems. We describe here the investigation of GSC 01944-02289, a very promising candidate for a transiting brown dwarf detected by the Transatlantic Exoplanet Survey (TrES) network. The photometry and radial velocity observations suggested that the candidate was an object of substellar mass in orbit around an F star. However, careful analysis of the spectral line shapes revealed a pattern of variations consistent with the presence of another star whose motion produced the asymmetries observed in the spectral lines of the brightest star. Detailed simulations of blend models composed of an eclipsing binary plus a third star diluting the eclipses were compared with the observed light curve and used to derive the properties of the three components. Our photometric and spectroscopic observations are fully consistent with a blend model of a hierarchical triple system composed of an eclipsing binary with G0V and M3V components in orbit around a slightly evolved F5 dwarf. We believe that this investigation will be helpful to other groups pursuing wide-field transit searches as this type of false detection could be more common than true transiting planets, and difficult to identify.

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