Date of Award




Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Department of Physics

Content Description

1 online resource (ii, vi, 50 pages) : illustrations (some color)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Kevin H. Knuth

Committee Members

Ariel Caticha, Vivek Jain


Astronomical photometry, Stars, Stellar oscillations

Subject Categories

Astrophysics and Astronomy


As a planet orbits its parent star, the amount of light that reaches Earth from that system is dependent on the dynamics of that star system. Known as photometric variations, these slight changes in light flux are detectable by the Kepler Space Telescope and must be fully understood in order to properly model the system. There are four main factors that contribute to the photometric flux: reflected light from the planet, thermal emissions from the planet, doppler boosting in the light being emitted by the star, and ellipsoidal variations in the star. The total observed flux from each contribution then determines how much light will be seen from the star system to be used for analysis. Previous studies have normalized the photometric variation fluxes by the observed flux emitted from the star. However, normalizing data inherently and unphysically skews the result which must then be taken into account. Additionally, when the stellar flux is an unknown it is impossible to normalize the photometric variation fluxes with respect to it. This paper will preliminarily attempt to improve upon the existing studies by removing the source of the deviation for the flux results, i.e. the stellar flux. The fluxes found from each photometric variation factor will then be incorporated into EXONEST, an algorithm using Bayesian inference, that will be implemented for characterizing extrasolar systems.