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Scholars Day: April 11, 2012

Photometry and Extra-Solar Planet Detection

The Observatory at the College at Brockport contains a fixed 10" Meade telescope and a CCD camera for capturing images. The researcher will describe efforts to characterize the photometric accuracy that can be achieved at the campus site. Photometry is the measurement of the apparent brightness of astronomical objects. Precise measurements of stars are necessary, for example, if the goal is to measure brightness variations over time. While some stars vary naturally, others are 'eclipsed' by companion stars or planets, causing the light that reaches us to decrease for a period of time. Our goal is to determine if the setup at the Brockport Observatory is sensitive enough to detect extra-solar planets. Other studies using small telescopes have been able to detect extra-solar planets by measuring brightness changes as small as 1%. By obtaining light curves of variable stars having known brightness variations and comparing them to stars of well-determined, constant magnitudes, the researcher will determine whether detection of extra-solar planets is feasible at Brockport.

Please note that presentation times are approximate. If you are interested in attending sessions with multiple presentations, please be in the room at the start of the session.
Presenter: Kevin Grossman (Undergraduate Student)
Topic: Physics
Location: Seymour Union Main Lounge
Time: 1:15 pm Session III