Monday, April 07, 2008

Flare Research: Onwards!

I've previously mentioned that my project into super flares on solar type stars was at a bit of a temporary dead end because my first and main approach to the topic (to see if planets had any effect on their stars chromospheres) had already been answered and the other direct approach (looking for planets around these stars) is being done by someone else.

So what's next?

The next obvious question is whether or not any of these systems with known close-in planets have flared. But unlike everything else I've been doing so far, this isn't just a case of trying to go through the literature and see what comes up. Instead, we'll be doing the data analysis ourselves.

Which means we need data.

The first source for lots of data would be from some of the big sky surveys. Only trouble with that is that, since it takes deep exposures, many brighter stars, namely the ones that are likely to have planets found around them, will be overexposed for those stars, and we can't really do any honest data analysis on them. But even for the stars that might work, I still need to get a tutorial on how to use IRAF's aperture photometry mode as opposed to the profile-fit that I did in San Diego.

So that means we may need to be taking our own data. Which means writing proposals for telescope time. Exciting, huh?

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