Transit Timing Observations from Kepler: II. Confirmation of Two Multiplanet Systems via a Non-parametric Correlation Analysis

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We present a new method for confirming transiting planets based on the combination of transit timing variations (TTVs) and dynamical stability. Correlated TTVs provide evidence that the pair of bodies are in the same physical system. Orbital stability provides upper limits for the masses of the transiting companions that are in the planetary regime. This paper describes a non-parametric technique for quantifying the statistical significance of TTVs based on the correlation of two TTV data sets. We apply this method to an analysis of the transit timing variations of two stars with multiple transiting planet candidates identified by Kepler. We ... continued below

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23 pages

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Ford, Eric B.; U., /Florida; Fabrycky, Daniel C.; Observ., /Lick; Steffen, Jason H.; /Fermilab et al. January 1, 2012.

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We present a new method for confirming transiting planets based on the combination of transit timing variations (TTVs) and dynamical stability. Correlated TTVs provide evidence that the pair of bodies are in the same physical system. Orbital stability provides upper limits for the masses of the transiting companions that are in the planetary regime. This paper describes a non-parametric technique for quantifying the statistical significance of TTVs based on the correlation of two TTV data sets. We apply this method to an analysis of the transit timing variations of two stars with multiple transiting planet candidates identified by Kepler. We confirm four transiting planets in two multiple planet systems based on their TTVs and the constraints imposed by dynamical stability. An additional three candidates in these same systems are not confirmed as planets, but are likely to be validated as real planets once further observations and analyses are possible. If all were confirmed, these systems would be near 4:6:9 and 2:4:6:9 period commensurabilities. Our results demonstrate that TTVs provide a powerful tool for confirming transiting planets, including low-mass planets and planets around faint stars for which Doppler follow-up is not practical with existing facilities. Continued Kepler observations will dramatically improve the constraints on the planet masses and orbits and provide sensitivity for detecting additional non-transiting planets. If Kepler observations were extended to eight years, then a similar analysis could likely confirm systems with multiple closely spaced, small transiting planets in or near the habitable zone of solar-type stars.

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23 pages

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  • Journal Name: Submitted to Astrophys.J.; Journal Volume: 750; Journal Issue: 2

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  • Report No.: FERMILAB-PUB-12-058-AE
  • Grant Number: AC02-07CH11359
  • DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/750/2/113 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 1035928
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc841706

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  • January 1, 2012

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  • May 19, 2016, 3:16 p.m.

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  • Aug. 30, 2016, 3:22 p.m.

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Ford, Eric B.; U., /Florida; Fabrycky, Daniel C.; Observ., /Lick; Steffen, Jason H.; /Fermilab et al. Transit Timing Observations from Kepler: II. Confirmation of Two Multiplanet Systems via a Non-parametric Correlation Analysis, article, January 1, 2012; Batavia, Illinois. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc841706/: accessed November 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.