Spectroscopic follow-up observations play a crucial role in the confirmation and characterization of transiting planet candidates identified by Kepler. The most challenging part of this work is the determination of radial velocities with a precision approaching 1 m/s in order to derive masses from spectroscopic orbits. The most precious resource for this work is HIRES on Keck I, to be joined by HARPS-North on the William Herschel Telescope when that new spectrometer comes on line in two years. Because a large fraction of the planet candidates are in fact stellar systems involving eclipsing stars and not planets, our strategy is to start with reconnaissance spectroscopy using smaller telescopes, to sort out and reject as many of the false positives as possible before going to Keck. During the first Kepler observing season in 2009, more than 100 nights of telescope time were allocated for this work, using high-resolution spectrometers on the Lick 3.0-m Shane Telescope, the McDonald 2.7-m Reflector, the 2.5-m Nordic Optical Telescope, and the 1.5-m Tillinghast Reflector at the Whipple observatory. In this paper we will summarize the scope and organization of the spectroscopic follow-up observations, showing examples of the types of false positives found and ending with a presentation of the characteristics of a confirmed planet.
Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 2010, Vol 42