Developments in Planet Detection using Transit Timing Variations

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In a transiting planetary system, the presence of a second planet will cause the time interval between transits to vary. These transit timing variations (TTV) are particularly large near mean-motion resonances and can be used to infer the orbital elements of planets with masses that are too small to detect by any other means. The author presents the results of a study of simulated data where they show the potential that this planet detection technique has to detect and characterize secondary planets in transiting systems. These results have important ramifications for planetary transit searches since each transiting system presents an ... continued below

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6 pages

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Steffen, Jason H.; /Fermilab; Agol, Eric & /Washington U., Seattle, Astron. Dept. December 1, 2006.

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In a transiting planetary system, the presence of a second planet will cause the time interval between transits to vary. These transit timing variations (TTV) are particularly large near mean-motion resonances and can be used to infer the orbital elements of planets with masses that are too small to detect by any other means. The author presents the results of a study of simulated data where they show the potential that this planet detection technique has to detect and characterize secondary planets in transiting systems. These results have important ramifications for planetary transit searches since each transiting system presents an opportunity for additional discoveries through a TTV analysis. They present such an analysis for 13 transits of the HD 209458 system that were observed with the Hubble Space Telescope. This analysis indicates that a putative companion in a low-order, mean-motion resonance can be no larger than the mass of the Earth and constitutes, to date, the most sensitive probe for extrasolar planets that orbit main sequence stars. The presence or absence of small planets in low-order, mean-motion resonances has implications for theories of the formation and evolution of planetary systems. Since TTV is most sensitive in these regimes, it should prove a valuable tool not only for the detection of additional planets in transiting systems, but also as a way to determine the dominant mechanisms of planet formation and the evolution of planetary systems.

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6 pages

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  • Prepared for Transiting Extrasolar Planets Workshop, Heidelberg, Germany, 25-28 Sep 2006

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  • Report No.: FERMILAB-CONF-06-476-A-CD
  • Grant Number: AC02-07CH11359
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 897197
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc879285

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  • December 1, 2006

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  • Sept. 22, 2016, 2:13 a.m.

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  • Dec. 7, 2016, 10:43 a.m.

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Steffen, Jason H.; /Fermilab; Agol, Eric & /Washington U., Seattle, Astron. Dept. Developments in Planet Detection using Transit Timing Variations, article, December 1, 2006; Batavia, Illinois. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc879285/: accessed August 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.