Exoplanet detection via microlensing with RoboNet-1.0

M. J. Burgdorf, D. M. Bramich, M. Dominik, M. F. Bode, K. D. Horne, I. A. Steele, N. Rattenbury, Y. Tsapras

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

RoboNet-1.0 is a prototype global network of three two-meter robotic telescopes, placed in La Palma (Canary Islands), Maui (Hawaii), and Siding Spring (Australia). In April 2004, funding for RoboNet-1.0 until July 2007 was approved by PPARC's Science Committee, and the project commenced in earnest in August 2004. The search for cool extra-solar planets by optimised robotic monitoring of Galactic microlensing events is one of the two core elements of its scientific programme-observations of gamma-ray bursts is the other. During the 2005 observing season, light curves of more than 60 microlensing events have been sampled at regular intervals. One particular event, OGLE-2005-BLG-71, showed an anomaly caused by an extrasolar planet, which constituted the second detection of a planet by microlensing. As a by-product, our dense monitoring during caustic crossing events can resolve the brightness profile of observed source stars, providing an observational test of stellar atmosphere models. Current development work uses e-science to create a fully automated chain linking event monitoring to the detection of anomalies in the microlensing lightcurves that could be indications of planetary companions and on to the triggering of follow-up observations. In order to fully exploit the potential of such a network for detecting exoplanets, it will be necessary to complement the existing RoboNet with additional telescopes in the southern hemisphere. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)582-588
Number of pages7
JournalPlanetary and Space Science
Volume55
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2007

Keywords

  • experimental techniques
  • extrasolar planets
  • instrumentation photometry
  • GRAVITATIONAL LENSING EXPERIMENT
  • PLANETS
  • EVENT
  • TELESCOPE
  • CAUSTICS
  • SYSTEMS

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