BYU

Abstract by Alex Spencer

Personal Infomation


Presenter's Name

Alex Spencer

Co-Presenters

None

Degree Level

Undergraduate

Co-Authors

None

Abstract Infomation


Department

Physics and Astronomy

Faculty Advisor

Denise Stephens

Title

The Search for Exoplanets

Abstract

Over the last four years, BYU has been a part of a coordinated effort to discover exoplanets called the KELT Follow-Up Network. We work with a number of observatories around the world to confirm initial findings made by the KELT telescope. We can confirm exoplanets through light curve analysis of a suspected host star. If a planet is present, it might eclipse its star, causing a small dip in the light we measure. From this, we are able to confirm if a planet is truly there, as well as we are able to estimate the planet’s mass and radius. Though quite simple, the method of light curve analysis has quickly become a leading method for finding exoplanets. The KELT project has been instrumental in discovering dozens of exoplanets, with many more potential planets waiting for confirmation. This search continues to widen our understanding of how planets form and of how common they are.