The color of noise in SuperWASP data and the implications for finding extrasolar planets

Smith, A. M. S.; Collier Cameron, A.; Christian, D.; Clarkson, W. I.; Enoch, R; Evans, A.; Haswell, C. A.; Hellier, C.; Horne, K.; Irwin, J.; Kane, S.; Lister, T.; Norton, A. J.; Parley, N.; Pollacco, D.; Ryans, R.; Skillen, I.; Street, R.; Triaud, A. H. M. J.; Wheatley, P.; West, R. and Wilsin, D. (2007). The color of noise in SuperWASP data and the implications for finding extrasolar planets. In: Transiting Extrasolar Planets Workshop, 25-28 Sep 2006, Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany..



A recent study demonstrated that there is significant covariance structure in the noise on data from ground-based photometric surveys designed to detect transiting extrasolar planets. Such correlation in the noise has often been overlooked, especially when predicting the number of planets a particular survey is likely to find. Indeed, the shortfall in the number of transiting extrasolar planets discovered by such surveys seems to be explained by co-variance in the noise. We analyze SuperWASP (Wide Angle Search for Planets) data and determine that there is a significant amount of correlated systematic noise present. After modelling the potential planet catch, we conclude that this noise places a significant limit on the number of planets that SuperWASP is likely to detect; and that the best way to boost the signal-to-noise ratio and limit the impact of co-variant noise is to increase the number of observed transits for each candidate transiting planet.

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