A tentative detection of a starspot during consecutive transits of an extrasolar planet from the ground: No evidence of a double transiting planet system around tres-1

Jason A. Dittmann, Laird M. Close, Elizabeth M. Green, Mike Fenwick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

27 Scopus citations

Abstract

There have been numerous reports of anomalies during transits of the planet TrES-1b. Recently, Rabus and coworkers' analysis of Hubble Space Telescope observations lead them to claim brightening anomalies during transit might be caused by either a second transiting planet or a cool starspot. Observations of two consecutive transits are presented here from the University of Arizona's 61 inch Kuiper Telescope on 2008 May 12 and May 15 UT. A 5.4 1.7 mmag (0.54% 0.17%) brightening anomaly was detected during the first half of the transit on May 12 and again in the second half of the transit on May 15. We argue that the significance of these spot events are 3.2 and 2.9 σ for May 12 and May 15, respectively, and we estimate that each of these have a probability ≥90% of not being systematic red-noise peaks. Therefore, we conclude that this is a tentative detection of a r ≥6R starspot rotating on the surface of the star. We suggest that all evidence to date suggest TrES-1 has a spotty surface, and there is no need to introduce a second transiting planet in this system to explain these anomalies. Assuming that the spin axis of the star and orbital axis of the planet are aligned (and in the plane of the sky) suggests a stellar rotational period of 40.2 0.1 days. Introducing the λ = 30° 21° inclination of the stellar spin axis with respect to the planetary orbital axis of Narita etal. adds much more uncertainty, and we are only able to constrain the rotational period of the star to 40.2+22.9 -14.6 days, which is consistent with the previously observed P obs = 33.2+22.3 -14.3 day period. We note that this technique could be applied to other transiting systems for which starspots exist on the star in the transit path of the planet in order to constrain the rotation rate of the star.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)756-763
Number of pages8
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume701
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009

Keywords

  • Eclipses
  • Planetary systems
  • Stars: activity
  • Stars: rotation
  • Stars: spots
  • Techniques: photometric

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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