NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2009A-0078

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Proposal Information for 2009A-0078


PI: Drake Deming, GSFC, Leo.D.Deming@nasa.gov
Address: Solar System Exploration Division, Code 693, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA

CoI: Donald E. Jennings, GSFC
CoI: Pedro Sada, Universidad de Monterrey, Mexico

Title: An Exoplanet Radius and Transit Timing Survey

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 28 hot Jupiters transiting planets brighter than V=13, and observable from KPNO. A transit timing survey of these systems could detect hot Earths in resonance, via the large (~ 180 second) perturbations they induce on the giant planet transits. Moreover, the discovery photometry for these systems often provides only relatively coarse photometric precision, but larger- aperture follow-up can determine the giant planet radius to a precision limited only by knowledge of the stellar mass, and thereby reveal the diversity of giant exoplanet structure, such as the presence of heavy element cores. The relatively large sample now available means that a radius- and transit timing-survey is well matched to classical observing and telescope scheduling. We propose continued observations to perform transit photometry using FLAMINGOS on the 2.1-meter in the J-band, where stellar limb darkening is minimal and transit photometry has excellent sensitivity to planetary radii and shifts in transit time.


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NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2009A-0078

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