Modelling systematics of ground-based transit photometry I. Implications on transit timing variations

Publication: Research - peer-reviewJournal article

The transit timing variation technique (TTV) has been widely used to detect and characterize multiple planetary systems. Due to the observational biases imposed mainly by the photometric conditions and instrumentation and the high signal-to-noise required to produce primary transit observations, ground-based data acquired using small telescopes limit the technique to the follow-up of hot Jupiters. However, space-based missions such as Kepler and CoRoT have already revealed that hot Jupiters are mainly found in single systems. Thus, it is natural to question ourselves if we are properly using the observing time at hand carrying out such follow-ups, or if the use of medium-to-low quality transit light curves, combined with current standard techniques of data analysis, could be playing a main role against exoplanetary search via TTVs. The purpose of this work is to investigate to what extent ground-based observations treated with current modelling techniques are reliable to detect and characterize additional planets in already known planetary systems. To meet this goal, we simulated typical primary transit observations of a hot Jupiter mimicing an existing system, Qatar-1. To resemble ground-based observations we attempt to reproduce, by means of physically and empirically motivated relationships, the effects caused by the Earth's atmosphere and the instrumental setup on the synthetic light curves. Therefore, the synthetic data present different photometric quality and transit coverage. In addition, we introduced a perturbation in the mid-transit times of the hot Jupiter, caused by an Earth-sized planet in a 3:2 mean motion resonance. Analyzing the synthetic light curves produced after certain epochs, we attempt to recover the synthetically added TTV signal by means of usual primary transit fitting techniques, and show how these can recover (or not) the TTV signal.
Original languageEnglish
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2016


  • Astrophysics - Earth and Planetary Astrophysics

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