University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Exoplanet Meetings > Needle in a haystack: Distinguishing planets from false positives and red noise with the Next Generation Transit Survey

Needle in a haystack: Distinguishing planets from false positives and red noise with the Next Generation Transit Survey

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The Next Generation Transit Survey (NGTS) is a wide-field survey designed to detect Neptune-sized exoplanets, operating in Paranal since early 2016. I will first introduce a new yield simulator, apply it to NGTS and discuss its outcome. Two major factors limit the survey: 1) the achieved red noise level, which determines the sensitivity to detect small planets, and 2) the ability to identify astrophysical false positives, which outnumber the planet yield. In particular variable background objects (blended in the photometric aperture) can mimic Neptune-sized transits and are costly in follow-up time. They can best be identified based on the fact that the photometric flux is lost off-centre during an eclipse, resulting in the flux centroid shifting towards the centre of the target star. Although this method has successfully been employed by the Kepler mission, it has previously not been proven feasible from the ground. I will finally present a new algorithm I developed for NGTS that allows detecting these centroid shifts with a precision of up to 1/1000th of a pixel. This makes NGTS the first ground-based transit survey ever to successfully implement this technique.

This talk is part of the Exoplanet Meetings series.

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