Towards high-precision exoplanet photometry with the Huntsman telescope
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 21:00 authored by Jaime Andrés Alvarado Montes
The Huntsman Telescope, situated at Siding Spring Observatory in Australia, is a cost-effective astronomical imaging system that makes use of an assembly of commercial off-the-shelf optics and detectors. In this thesis, I develop an appropriate set up of Huntsman for the future detection and subsequent follow-up observation of exoplanets around nearby stars, via the transit technique. I also investigate the optimal observational method to reach high-precision photometry when using an array of small lenses which point at the same target; discuss advantages and shortcomings; and ultimately demonstrate the achievable on-sky photometric precision of Huntsman. This includes comparing the precision achieved by combining data from multiple cameras, and for different focusing of the lenses. A key component of this thesis was the development of a photometry pipeline for processing Huntsman data and extracting light curves. Over the next few years, the Huntsman Telescope will become one of the facilities in the Southern Hemisphere using transit photometry to both discover exoplanets, and follow up on exoplanet candidates from ongoing space-based missions.