Efficient Follow-Up of Exoplanet Transits Using Small Telescopes
Jones, Hugh R. A.
Here, we introduce an online tool for the prediction of exoplanet transit light curves. Small telescopes can readily capture exoplanet transits under good weather conditions when the combination of a bright star and a large transiting exoplanet results in a significant depth of transit. However, in reality there are many considerations that need to be made to obtain useful measurements. This paper and the accompanying website lay out a procedure based on timeseries differential photometry that has been successfully employed using 0.4 m aperture telescopes to predict the expected precision for a whole light curve. This enables robust planning to decide whether the observation of a particular exoplanet transit should be attempted, and in particular to be able to readily see when it should not to be attempted. This may result in a significant increase in the number of transit observations captured by non-specialists. The technique and website are also appropriate for planning a variety of variable star observations where a prediction of the light curve can be made.