PI: Drake Deming, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Leo.D.Deming@nasa.gov
Address: Solar System Exploration Division, Code 693, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA
CoI: Donald E. Jennings, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
CoI: Pedro Sada, University of Monterey, Mexico
Title: Detection of Hot Earths by Giant Planet Transit Tming
Abstract: Many exoplanet systems contain Jupiter-mass planets on close-in orbits. Theories of planetary system formation account for these hot Jupiters as being end states of inward migration. Variants of those theories also predict terrestrial planets to be captured in mean motion resonance with the hot Jupiters. A recent explosion of discoveries by transit surveys have given us a sample of 25 hot Jupiters transiting stars brighter than V=13. A transit timing survey of these systems could detect hot Earths in resonance, via the large (typically 180 second) perturbations they induce on the giant planet transits. The relatively large sample now available implies that a transit timing survey is well matched to classical observing and telescope scheduling. We propose exploratory observations to perform transit photometry using the 2.1-meter/FLAMINGOS instrument in the J-band, where stellar limb darkening is minimal and transit photometry has maximum sensitivity to shifts in transit time. If our exploratory observations confirm timing precision approaching the predicted values (about 10 seconds for a typical system), we will propose additional observations in later semesters to establish a timing survey.
National Optical Astronomy Observatory, 950 North Cherry Avenue, P.O. Box 26732, Tucson, Arizona 85726, Phone: (520) 318-8000, Fax: (520) 318-8360