Target Stars Background Information
TrES –Trans-atlantic Exoplanet Survey
To date, four planets (TrES 1, 2, 3 and 4) have been discovered by this group of astronomers using a network of small relatively inexpensive automated telescopes in Arizona, California, and the Canary Islands. The telescopes are designed to look for planets orbiting bright stars using the transit method.
Distance from Earth: 512 light years Constellation: Lyra Orbital period: 3.03 Earth days Year Discovered: 2004
TrES-1 was the first planet discovered by the Trans-atlantic Exoplanet Survey. It belongs to a class of planets known as "hot Jupiters". These planets are very similar to Jupiter in both mass and radius but unlike Jupiter are located very close to their parent stars (even closer than Mercury is to our Sun).
Distance from Earth: 500 light years Constellation: Draco Orbital period: 2.5 Earth days Year Discovered: 2006
TrES 2 is also a hot Jupiter with a mass slightly larger than Jupiter. It is the first planet discovered in the "Kepler field", an area being targeted for exploration by the Kepler project. In 2008, it was determined that TrEs-2 is part of a binary star system.
Distance from Earth: 800 light years Constellation: Hercules Orbital period: 31 Earth hours Year Discovered: 2007
TrES-3 is a large planet, close to twice the mass of Jupiter. Its "year" is the shortest known to date. Its star is slightly smaller and cooler than our Sun. It is currently undergoing orbital decay, that is, it's spiraling in toward its sun due to tidal effects.
Articles on TrES:
WASP – Wide Angle Search for Planets
This project consists of a group of eight institutions in the United Kingdom. Two robotic observatories, each with eight wide-angle cameras, operate continuously searching the sky for transiting planets. SuperWASP-North is located on the island of La Palma and covers the northern hemisphere. The skies of the southern hemisphere are monitored by SuperWASP-South in Sutherland. South Africa.
WASP-1b (also called Garafia-1)
Distance from Earth: 1234 light years Constellation: Pegasus Orbital period: 2.5 Earth days Year Discovered: 2006
WASP-1b was one of the first two transiting planet discovered using SuperWASP North one of two large telescopes part of the SuperWASP project (Wide Angle Search for Planets). WASP-2b was also detected at the same time. The detection was then confirmed with instruments in France - the SOPHIE spectrograph.
Distance from Earth: 470 light years Constellation: Delphinus Orbital period: 2.15 Earth days Year Discovered: 2006
WASP-2b has a similar mass and radius to Jupiter. A hot Jupiter, WASP-2b is located very close to its star WASP-2. In 2008, a study proved that like TrES-2, WASP-2 is part of a binary star system.
Distance from Earth: 300 light years Constellation: Pegasus Orbital period: 3 Earth days Year Discovered: 2008
WASP-10b is three times more massive than Jupiter. It is about as dense as our Moon.
Articles on WASP:
HATNet – Hungarian Automated Telescope Network
This network was originally formed by a group of Hungarians scientists in 1999. Its purpose was to map bright variable stars. Today the network's mission is to detect transiting planets using six small telescopes located in Arizona and Hawaii.
HAT-P-10b (also called WASP-11b as both projects presented their discoveries of the planet on the same day)
Distance from Earth: 408 light years Constellation: Perceus Orbital period: 3.73 Earth days Year Discovered: 2008
The WASP team first announced this planet's discovery in April 2008. It took until September to verify their results. On September 26, 2008, WASP released its findings, the very day that the HAT-P project team released its findings about HAT-P10b. Comparing coordinates and parameters, it was discovered that these two objects were in fact the same planet.
Distance from Earth: 465 light years Constellation: Canus Venatici Orbital period: 3.2 Earth days Year Discovered: 2009
This hot Jupiter planet was the 347th exo-planet detected. It is the least massive hydrogen/helium gas giant planet found to date (the record was previously held by Saturn).
Articles on HAT-P:
CoRot – Convection Rotation and Planetary Transits
The CoRoT space telescope, operated by the French space agency CNES, was launched in December, 2006. The telescope surveys 80,000 stars a year. Each star's light curve is recorded for 20 to 150 days as scientists using the transit method search for planets orbiting these stars. Since June, 2010, CoRoT has discovered 15 exo-planets.
Distance from Earth: 930 light years Constellation: Aquila Orbital period: 1.7 Earth days Year Discovered: 2007
CoRoT-2, a G-type star, is a bit cooler than our Sun. COROT-2b, is a huge planet, 3.3 times as massive as Jupiter. It is an extremely hot planet, around 1500K.
Articles on CoRot:
The Qatar Exoplanet Survey uses ground-based, wide-field digital cameras at a location in New Mexico to image the sky every clear evening, looking for transiting exoplanets. The survey began in the early 2010.
Distance from Earth: 550 light years Constellation: Draco Orbital period: 1.4 Earth days Year Discovered: 2010
Qatar-1, a K-type star, is a little cooler and smaller than our Sun. Qatar-1b, is a large planet, slightly larger than Jupiter. It is a very hot planet, with a temperature of around 1100K.
Distance from Earth: 200 light years Constellation: Virgo Orbital period: 1.34 Earth days Year Discovered: 2011
Qatar-2, a K dwarf, is a little cooler and smaller than our Sun. Like many of the planets in the MicroObservatory directory, Qatar-2b, is a "hot Jupiter." A second planet also revolves around this star with a much longer orbital period than Qatar-2b.
Articles on Qatar:
Like MicroObservatory, the MEarth Project uses robotic telescopes located in Arizona and operated here at the CfA in Cambridge. The MEarth project consists of eight telescopes, which study nearby M dwarf stars in search of Earth-like exoplanets.
Gliese 1214 (GJ1214)
Distance from Earth: 40 light years Constellation: Ophiuchus Orbital period: 1.58 Earth days Year Discovered: 2009
GJ1214 was discovered by the MEarth Project at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. This "super-Earth" exoplanet is larger than earth but smaller than Uranus. and may be composed of steamy water!