Extrasolar Planets: Homework 1

This homework must be submitted on paper before 16:50 on Monday, Oct 10.

Use any of the following (or any other sites you prefer) to answer the questions:

  1. Pick 2 methods by which exoplanets can be discovered. Make a graph showing the number of planets discovered by each method over the period 1995 - 2015.
  2. Look at the names of the host stars. These names usually have the form of a prefix (such as "HD") followed by a number.
    1. What are the 5 most common prefixes? If a prefix is an abbreviation, write the full name. Provide a reference for each common prefix, if you can.
    2. Divide the planets into three groups: those discovered before 2000, between 2000 and 2009, since 2009.

    3. How does the mix of these most common names change from one time period to the next?
    4. Why does the mix of names change? Be specific: connect the typical properties of stars in particular catalogs to the methods used to discover planets.
  3. You receive an E-mail from your eccentric uncle. "Hey," it reads, "I've been looking at this star, and I think it may have a planet passing in front of it. Could you check it, please? The first column is time in days, and the second column is counts."

    Attached to the E-mail is an ASCII text file with numbers.

    1. Make a plot showing flux as a function of time.
    2. What is the period of variation? Explain your method.
    3. Make a phased light curve with your value for the period. If you're not sure what 'a phased light curve' is, or how to create it, then