Detecting the wind-driven shapes of extrasolar giant planets from transit photometry

Jason W. Barnes, Curtis S. Cooper, Adam P. Showman, William B. Hubbard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Several processes can cause the shape of an extrasolar giant planet's shadow, as viewed in transit, to depart from circular. In addition to rotational effects, cloud formation, non-homogenous haze production and movement, and dynamical effects (winds) could also be important. When such a planet transits its host star as seen from the Earth, the asphericity will introduce a deviation in the transit light curve relative to the transit of a perfectly spherical (or perfectly oblate) planet. We develop a theoretical framework to interpret planetary shapes. We then generate predictions for transiting planet shapes based on a published theoretical dynamical model of HD189733b. Using these shape models we show that planet shapes are unlikely to introduce detectable light-curve deviations (those >1 × 10-5 of the host star), but that the shapes may lead to astrophysical sources of systematic error when measuring planetary oblateness, transit time, and impact parameter.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)877-884
Number of pages8
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume706
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009

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Keywords

  • Eclipses
  • Planets and satellites: Individual (HD189733b, HD209458b)
  • Techniques: Photometric

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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