Poster Open Access

TESS Planet Candidate Follow-up by Citizen Scientists in the Global Unistellar eVscope Network

Esposito, Thomas M.; Avsar, Arin; Peluso, Dan O.; Marchis, Franck; Santana, Peter; Klavans, Val; Nachury, Ludovic

Adams, Elisabeth R

Since April 2020, citizen scientists have been measuring TESS planet candidate light curves from backyards and rooftops around the world as members of the Unistellar eVscope Network under the aegis of SETI Institute astronomers. We have detected 45 complete or partial transits by "planet candidate" TOI's from 268 observations by 78 different citizen scientists, as of June 2021. These range down to transit depths of 1.0% (i.e., Jupiters around Sun-like stars) and host V=14 mag, and produce mid-transit time measurements precise to several minutes at 99.7% confidence with a single 4.5-inch telescope. We are contributing our photometric data to public databases (e.g., AAVSO Exoplanet Database) and coordinating observations with the TESS Follow-up Observation Program and NASA's Exoplanet Watch (Zellem+ 2020). Thus, we will rule out false positives and confirm orbits of short-period Jupiter-sized TOI's (>200 meet our detection criteria) and monitor long period (P>100 days) candidates with few observed transits for transit timing variations; potentially saving hundreds of hours for future characterization missions by maintaining ephemerides. In this poster, we present an overview of the eVscope network, goals for the program, our observing strategy, and citizen scientist community. We also show some example light curves for TOI detections and results from the campaign so far.

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  • Marchis, Franck et al. (2020). Unistellar eVscopes: Smart, portable, and easy-to-use telescopes for exploration, interactive learning, and citizen astronomy. Acta Astronautica, 166, 23. doi: 10.1016/j.actaastro.2019.09.028

  • Zellem, Robert T. et al. (2020). Utilizing Small Telescopes Operated by Citizen Scientists for Transiting Exoplanet Follow-up. PASP, 132, 054401. doi: 10.1088/1538-3873/ab7ee7

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