Title

Extension of a Perturbation Analysis in Search of Exomoons in Planet-Pulsar Systems

List all Project Mentors & Advisor(s)

Dr. Maeve McCarthy

Presentation Format

Event

Abstract/Description

Perturbation theory studies the effect of small parameters on a given equation. Applied to orbital mechanics, these minute changes can be measured and used to detect changes in periodic phenomena. One such periodic phenomena is the time of arrival (TOA) of regularly detectable pulses from a pulsar, a rapidly rotating star. Perturbations can be modeled theoretically and then matched with experimental data in order to discern if it is likely that a given planet-pulsar system has an exomoon. The original mathematical analysis of this phenomenon was conducted out to order O2) and found that, for the case of a theoretical Jupiter-Jupiter system, a perturbation of 960 ns would occur. Our analysis expands the Maclaurin Series of the perturbed problem to order O3) and for the same system determines an additional perturbation of 46 ns, indicating an improved threshold for detectability of the exomoon. Computational software was also used to explore a general form for the terms of order ε4 and higher to explore the limits of a useful approximation.

Location

Barkley Room, Curris Center

Start Date

April 2016

End Date

April 2016

Affiliations

Honors Thesis

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Apr 21st, 10:00 AM Apr 21st, 11:00 AM

Extension of a Perturbation Analysis in Search of Exomoons in Planet-Pulsar Systems

Barkley Room, Curris Center

Perturbation theory studies the effect of small parameters on a given equation. Applied to orbital mechanics, these minute changes can be measured and used to detect changes in periodic phenomena. One such periodic phenomena is the time of arrival (TOA) of regularly detectable pulses from a pulsar, a rapidly rotating star. Perturbations can be modeled theoretically and then matched with experimental data in order to discern if it is likely that a given planet-pulsar system has an exomoon. The original mathematical analysis of this phenomenon was conducted out to order O2) and found that, for the case of a theoretical Jupiter-Jupiter system, a perturbation of 960 ns would occur. Our analysis expands the Maclaurin Series of the perturbed problem to order O3) and for the same system determines an additional perturbation of 46 ns, indicating an improved threshold for detectability of the exomoon. Computational software was also used to explore a general form for the terms of order ε4 and higher to explore the limits of a useful approximation.