Honors Theses and Capstones

Date of Award

Spring 2022

Project Type

Senior Honors Thesis

College or School



Physics and Astronomy

Program or Major


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

First Advisor

John Gianforte

Second Advisor

Clifford Lopate


Transit observations of exoplanetary systems can be used to investigate orbital decay. TrES-1b is an exoplanet hypothesized to be experiencing orbital decay due to observed transit timing variations (TTVs) [12]. Numerous transits must be observed to establish a long term pattern to conclusively determine if the planet’s orbit is decaying. Measurements were made using the UNH Observatory where 2 transits were observed of the TrES-1b transiting system on February 27, 2022 and March 5, 2022. A CCD camera was used to image the transit and capture calibration images. The software AstroImageJ (AIJ) was used to calibrate the images and perform photometry to generate a light curve (LC) for the target star through the duration of the transit observation. The center of the transit can be calculated from the light curve given that AIJ is able to fit a light curve trendline to the LC. The data from the observed transits yielded inconclusive results as AIJ was unable to fit a light curve to the data and thus unable to find the transit center. The largest sources of error were cloud cover in the region of observation and improper telescope tracking. Understanding these sources of error allows for their effects to be mitigated in future data collection.