Hello there planet hunters, John here again. We know that you have been anxiously awaiting word on all of the transits you have been detecting. The first batch of stars with promising transits has been released today and I wanted to give you an overview of how we selected these particular stars out of the ones you marked.
We started with the 1.2 million classifications you made between December 15th and January 16th. Any star which had a transit marked by at least 5 people and had not previously been published was our first cut. That left us with 3533 stars.
We then had a small team of astronomers here at Yale quickly go through and rate these on a 5 point scale as likely planets and eclipsing binaries. A sort of Hot-or-Not for transits. We were now down to about 800 stars that fell into one or both of those categories.
Finally, three senior dip spotters went more carefully through this list, rating them again. Any star which was marked as either a possible planet or eclipsing binary with a score of 4 or better made it onto this first list of candidates. 90 possible planets and 42 possible eclipsing binaries!
There were many exciting transits that did not make the cut. Mostly it was because we need more data. You will notice that there are some single transits in the list, but there were just so many good ones it was hard to leave them out.
Our next step is to model these transits and weed out any more that may look promising by eye but aren’t quite as regular as they appear. This will also allow us to add radius and period information for most of the stars. Additionally, we will be including all of those stars where you identified existing planets, planet candidates, and eclipsing binaries from published works. I can already tell you that you easily found all of the published confirmed Kepler planets which were in the data.
Thanks for all of the hard work!
John M. Brewer