We present the Young Exoplanet Transit Initiative (YETI), in which we use several 0.2 to 2.6-m telescopes around the world to monitor continuously young (<= 100 Myr), nearby (<= 1 kpc) stellar clusters mainly to detect young transiting planets (and to study other variability phenomena on time-scales from minutes to years). The telescope network enables us to observe the targets continuously for several days in order not to miss any transit. The runs are typically one to two weeks long, about three runs per year per cluster in two or three subsequent years for about ten clusters. There are thousands of stars detectable in each field with several hundred known cluster members, e. g. in the first cluster observed, Tr-37, a typical cluster for the YETI survey, there are at least 469 known young stars detected in YETI data down to R = 16.5 mag with sufficient precision of 50 millimag rms (5 mmag rms down to R = 14.5 mag) to detect transits, so that we can expect at least about one young transiting object in this cluster. If we observe similar to 10 similar clusters, we can expect to detect similar to 10 young transiting planets with radius determinations. The precision given above is for a typical telescope of the YETI network, namely the 60/90-cm Jena telescope (similar brightness limit, namely within +/-1 mag, for the others) so that planetary transits can be detected. For targets with a periodic transit-like light curve, we obtain spectroscopy to ensure that the star is young and that the transiting object can be sub-stellar; then, we obtain Adaptive Optics infrared images and spectra, to exclude other bright eclipsing stars in the (larger) optical PSF; we carry out other observations as needed to rule out other false positive scenarios; finally, we also perform spectroscopy to determine the mass of the transiting companion. For planets with mass and radius determinations, we can calculate the mean density and probe the internal structure. We aim to constrain planet formation models and their time-scales by discovering planets younger than similar to 100 Myr and determining not only their orbital parameters, but also measuring their true masses and radii, which is possible so far only by the transit method. Here, we present an overview and first results. (C) 2011 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
R. Neuhäuser et al.
"The Young Exoplanet Transit Initiative (YETI)".