Date of Award




Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Department of Physics

Content Description

1 online resource (vii, 64 pages) : illustrations (some color)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Kevin Knuth

Committee Members

Kevin Knuth, Oleg Lunin, Eric Woods


Extrasolar planets, Astronomical photometry, Elliptical orbits, Planets, Parameter estimation, Transits

Subject Categories

Astrophysics and Astronomy | Physics


The study of extra-solar planets (exoplanets) is a rapidly expanding field, which aims to detect, characterize, and understand how other planetary systems form and behave. Observing an exoplanet transit its host star allows us to detect the exoplanet in the light curve. As an exoplanet transits, there will be a dip in the total flux (light per unit area) of the host star visible in the light curve. While observing an exoplanet transit, several photometric effects may influence the light curve. We consider the following photometric effects: reflected light, Doppler boosting (beaming), thermal emission, and ellipsoidal variation. This study relies on the EXONEST algorithm (Placek et al. 2014), which uses Bayesian model selection and parameter estimation to model the photometric effects in order to detect and characterize exoplanets. In this study the EXONEST algorithm is applied to two exoplanets. The first is the exoplanet Kepler-76b, a confirmed planet to compare accepted values for its planetary parameters. The second, an exoplanet candidate K00410.01 (KIC 5449777) will be analyzed to determine its planetary parameters.