High-Cadence Transit Timing Variation Monitoring of Extrasolar Planets

The European Physical Journal Conferences 01/2011; DOI: 10.1051/epjconf/20101105008
Source: DOAJ

ABSTRACT We report ground-based high-cadence transit timing observations of the extrasolar planet WASP-2b. We achieve a typical timing error of 15-30 sec. The data show no significant deviations from the predicted ephemeris.

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    ABSTRACT: Transiting extrasolar planets constitute only a small fraction of the range of stellar systems found to display periodic, shallow dimmings in wide-field surveys employing small-aperture camera arrays. Here we present an efficient selection strategy for follow-up observations, derived from analysis of the light curves of a sample of 67 SuperWASP targets that passed the selection tests we used in earlier papers, but which have subsequently been identified either as planet hosts or as astrophysical false positives. We determine the system parameters using Markov-chain Monte Carlo analysis of the SuperWASP light curves. We use a constrained optimisation of chi-squared combined with a Bayesian prior based on the main-sequence mass and radius expected from the 2MASS J-H colour. The Bayesian nature of the analysis allows us to quantify both the departure of the host star from the main-sequence mass-radius relation and the probability that the companion radius is less than 1.5 Jupiter radii. When augmented by direct light curve analyses that detect binaries with unequal primary and secondary eclipses, and objects with aperture blends that are resolved by SuperWASP, we find that only 13 of the original 67 stars, including the three known planets in the sample, would qualify for follow-up. This suggests that planet discovery "hit rates" better than one-in-five should be achievable. In addition, the stellar binaries that qualify are likely to have astrophysically interesting stellar or sub-stellar secondaries. Comment: 17 pages, 11 Figures, accepted for publication in MNRAS
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    ABSTRACT: Currently the only technique sensitive to Earth mass planets around nearby stars (that are too close for microlensing) is the monitoring of the transit time variations of the transiting extrasolar planets. We search for additional planets in the systems of the hot Neptune GJ 436b, and the hot-Jupiter XO-1b, using high cadence observations in the J and Ks bands. New high-precision transit timing measurements are reported: GJ 436b Tc = 2454238.47898 \pm 0.00046 HJD; XO-1b Tc(A) = 2454218.83331 \pm 0.00114 HJD, Tc(B) = 2454222.77539 \pm 0.00036 HJD, Tc(C) = 2454222.77597 \pm 0.00039 HJD, Tc(D) = 2454226.71769 \pm 0.00034 HJD, and they were used to derive new ephemeris. We also determined depths for these transits. No statistically significant timing deviations were detected. We demonstrate that the high cadence ground based near-infrared observations are successful in constraining the mean transit time to ~30 sec., and are a viable alternative to space missions. Comment: 7 pages, 4 figures. To appear in A&A
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 05/2009; DOI:10.1051/0004-6361/200810908 · 4.48 Impact Factor