Precision Photometry at the University of Hertfordshire's Bayfordbury Observatory
This thesis presents work conducted at the University of Hertfordshire’s Observatory at Bayfordbury Hertfordshire to develop a model to predict the photometric precision of their 40cm aperture telescopes whilst observing a wide range of targets. A model was formulated with suitable equations to predict the expected precision with a specified target by using only their catalogue magnitude, the selected exposure time and anticipated value of air mass. Significant effort was made to quantify the parameters for a particular telescope working in V band with 2x2 binning. The model’s equations were predicted to be valid from magnitude 5 to magnitude 16.5 and for an air mass of up to 3.0. The predicted results have typically been within 2 mmag of the measured values obtained from light curves, albeit there are a number of mismatches that may in part be due to poor observing conditions. As part of the validation exercise, the technique was used to identify which predicted exoplanet transits would be satisfactorily captured by a telescope at the Bayfordbury Observatory, and to optimise the exposure time. Of the achieved observations with images correctly taken during a predicted transit (apart from one very faint target in adverse weather conditions), 12 satisfactory transits were captured and are presented in this thesis.