Rejecting Astrophysical False Positives from the TrES Transiting Planet Survey: The Example of GSC 03885–00829
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CitationO’Donovan, Francis T., David Charbonneau, Guillermo Torres, Georgi Mandushev, Edward W. Dunham, David W. Latham, Roi Alonso, et al. 2006. “Rejecting Astrophysical False Positives from the TrES Transiting Planet Survey: The Example of GSC 03885−00829.” The Astrophysical Journal 644 (2): 1237–45. https://doi.org/10.1086/503740.
AbstractGround-based wide-field surveys for nearby transiting gas giants are yielding far fewer true planets than astrophysical false positives, some of which are difficult to reject. Recent experience has highlighted the need for careful analysis to eliminate astronomical systems in which light from a faint eclipsing binary is blended with that from a bright star. During the course of the Transatlantic Exoplanet Survey, we identified a system presenting a transit-like periodic signal. We obtained the proper motion and infrared color of this target (GSC 03885 - 00829) from publicly available catalogs, which suggested this star is an F dwarf, supporting our transit hypothesis. This spectral classification was confirmed using spectroscopic observations from which we determined the stellar radial velocity. The star did not exhibit any signs of a stellar mass companion. However, subsequent multicolor photometry displayed a color-dependent transit depth, indicating that a blend was the likely source of the eclipse. We successfully modeled our initial photometric observations of GSC 03885 - 00829 as the light from a K dwarf binary system superimposed on the light from a late F dwarf star. High-dispersion spectroscopy confirmed the presence of light from a cool stellar photosphere in the spectrum of this system. With this candidate, we demonstrate both the difficulty in identifying certain types of false positives in a list of candidate transiting planets and our procedure for rejecting these imposters, which may be useful to other groups performing wide-field transit surveys.
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