Home Page

This is the home page of the KELT-South telescope.  It is for use by members of the public interested in the KELT project, and for scientists who want to learn more about the details of KELT.  For a basic description of what KELT-South is and does, see the link above, About KELT-South.

For information about the twin telescope of KELT-South in the northern hemisphere, see the website of KELT-North.

Major KELT-South Planet discoveryKELT-11b

KELT-11b is the latest discovery from KELT-South.  It is extraordinarily inflated, with a mass one fifth that of Jupiter but a size almost 40% larger, so the bulk density is below 0.1 grams per cc.

The star is extremely bright at V=8, and the star is also fairly evolved onto the subgiant branch.  This is the brightest transit host in the southern hemisphere and the 6th brightest transiting system known.  The planet is in a P=4.73 day orbit, and it’s low density gives it an extremely large projected atmospheric scale height of 2700 km.  This is an excellent target for transmission spectroscopy.


More KELT-South Exoplanets: KELT-14b and KELT-15b

Our next KELT-South discoveries are a pair of hot Jupiters, one which (KELT-14b) is a simultaneous discovery along with the SuperWASP project.  This paper is led by Joey Rodriguez, recently graduated from Vanderbilt, and headed to a postdoctoral position at Harvard-Smithsonian CfA.


First KELT-South Exoplanet Discovery: KELT-10b

KELT-10b is the first exoplanet discovered by the KELT-South telescope.  It is a hot sub-Jupiter at 68% of Jupiter, but 40% larger, so it is very inflated.  This discovery is led by Rudi Kuhn, who is currently a staff scientist at SAAO working on SALT.  KELT-10b is a great example of what we want the KELT project to deliver, since the host star is bright at V=10.7, and an orbital period of just over 4 days.


A new KELT-North discovery – KELT-8b

KELT-8b: A Highly Inflated Transiting Hot Jupiter and a New Technique for Extracting High-precision Radial Velocities from Noisy Spectra


Another KELT-North planet – KELT-7b

KELT-7b is a great discovery.  It is another inflated hot Jupiter, this one in a 2.73-day orbit.  It is the fifth most massive, fifth hottest, and the ninth brightest star known to host a transiting planet.  See the paper, led by our KELT collaborator Allyson Bieryla.

KELT-7b: A Hot Jupiter Transiting a Bright V = 8.54 Rapidly Rotating F-star


Recently, Vanderbilt graduate student Joey Rodriguez paid a maintenance visit to KELT-South.  While there, he worked with SAAO technician Willie Koorts to lubricate the roof mechanism for the KELT-South building.  They needed a simple and effective lubrication option, and Willie found an excellent homemade solution.  Check it out:


Newest KELT Discovery – KELT-6b

Announcing KELT-6b, a transiting Saturn-mass exoplanet in a 7.9-day orbit.  This is the smallest planet yet discovered by KELT, and also the one with the longest period.  Its host star is especially metal-poor, and is a near-twin of the host star of exoplanet HD209458b, one of the best-studies transiting exoplanets.

KELT-6b: A P~7.9 d Hot Saturn Transiting a Metal-Poor Star with a Long-Period Companion


KELT Software Release – TAPIR

TAPIR is a free software package for scheduling observations of transit candidates.  Developed by KELT collaborator Eric Jensen at Swarthmore College, it allows a survey to upload a list of potential transit candidates to an online portal, and all those interested in observing the candidates can log in, set a variety of observing constraints, and see all candidates that fulfill those constraints.

An example of this would be for an observer to log in, select their observing location and time zone, and see all upcoming transit events for the uploaded candidates for the next several nights.  The observer can filter for candidates that will be above a given airmass through the entire transit, for candidates with expected depths larger than a given value, or for candidates with an internal priority ranking above some level.  There are many other ways the observer can customize their requirements.

What makes this package unique and powerful are the extensive options for time-sensitive flexibility and customization.  Most software tools for planning observations allow the observer to generally check object observability, but TAPIR addresses the time-sensitive requirements for transit observing with unprecedented power.  It allows each observer to customize their requirements, and to do so in one step for the entire uploaded dataset.  It serves as a many-to-many conduit, allowing any number of independent observers to check their ability to observe any number of potential transits.


New KELT discovery!

Announcing KELT-3b, a hot Jupiter transiting a V=9.8 star in a 2.703 day orbit.  With this discovery, 2 of the 20 brightest transiting planets are KELT discoveries.  That number will keep going up.

KELT-3b: A Hot Jupiter Transiting a V=9.8 Late-F Star


On June 13, 2012, the KELT project announced its first major discoveries.  KELT-North has discovered two new companions to bright stars.

  • KELT-2Ab is a 1.5 M_J, 1.3 R_J mildly inflated hot Jupiter in a 4.1 day orbit around a slightly evolved V=8.77 F7 star.  It is the ninth brightest transiting planet, and the third-brightest one discovered by a ground-based survey.  The evolutionary state of the star means that this exoplanet has one of the best measured ages of any known exoplanet.  The host star also has a common proper motion M-dwarf binary companion (KELT-2B) that may be the cause of KELT-2Ab’s orbital location.  KELT-2Ab: A Hot Jupiter Transiting the Bright (V=8.77) Primary Star of a Binary System

Both of these discoveries are extremely exciting, and are exactly what KELT was built to do.  These two discoveries come from the KELT-North telescope, which has been operating longer than KELT-South and so if further along with its search.  We also have several more interesting targets from both telescopes that we are working to confirm and hopefully publish over the next year.

Below is a model of the transit of KELT-1b across its host star.




Here is an animation showing the gradual buildup of the KELT-2 lightcurve:

The video shows the brightness of the host star plotted over time, with the data folding back on itself ever 4 days, 2 hours, 43 minutes, and 50 seconds, which is how long the planet takes to orbit the star.  Each white point is a measurement of the star’s brightness, and the red points are the average of the white points in time.  The dip in the middle is the starlight being blocked by the planet.

The music in the video is “Orbital” by Josh Ritter, from the album “So Runs the World Away”.  Used with permission.

Here is a cool video of the KELT-South telescope in operation over the course of one night in Sutherland, South Africa:

If you have any questions about the project or this webpage, please contact Joshua Pepper: