Date of Award

5-2016

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

First Advisor

Kevin Knuth

Abstract

Recent observations across the galaxy have led to the conclusion that there exist many different extrasolar systems. Using photometric effects, the amount of data that has been produced on exoplanets has significantly increased and will continue to rise. Finding new methods of data analysis to broaden the spectrum of research has therefore become a necessity. Exonest is an algorithm currently in development that uses Bayesian methods, and notably nested sampling, to infer characteristics about an exoplanet from its observed light curve.

In this paper, Exonest was tested by being used to study three extra-solar systems: each containing a single confirmed hot Jupiter (a large planet orbiting close to its host-star). The planets selected for this test were Kepler-428b, Kepler-40b, and Kepler-44b. Three parameters were computed and compared with the published values by NASA: the mass, the radius and the relative orbital inclination of the planet. The values returned by the algorithm are generally in agreement with NASA, which would tend to validate Exonest as a robust and powerful analysis tool. In the case of Kepler-428b, the dayside and nightside temperatures were also determined, although no other estimation of these parameters was available for comparison.

Included in

Physics Commons

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