Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University


In order to increase the rate of finding, confirming, and characterizing Earth-like exoplanets, the MINiature Exoplanet Radial Velocity Array (MINERVA) was recently built with the purpose of obtaining the spectroscopic and photometric precision necessary for these tasks. Achieving the satisfactory photometric precision is the primary focus of this work. This is done with the four telescopes of MINERVA and the defocusing technique. The satisfactory photometric precision derives from the defocusing technique. The use of MINERVA’s four telescopes benefits the relative photometry that must be conducted. Typically, it is difficult to find satisfactory comparison stars within a telescope’s field of view when the primary target is very bright. This issue is resolved by using one of MINERVA’s telescopes to observe the primary bright star while the other telescopes observe a distinct field of view that contains satisfactory bright comparison stars. In order to maintain time-efficiency throughout MINERVA’s survey of many bright stars, the relative photometry, analysis of defocused images and the production of light curves have been automated via software recently constructed.



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