Careful follow-up observations of nearby transiting planet systems
have revolutionized our understanding of a whole new kind of planet:
hot Jupiters. They have been used to reveal absorption by
atmospheric atomic sodium (Charbonneau et al. 2002) and the presence
of an extended hydrogen exosphere (Vidal-Madjar et
al. 2003) in HD209458b, as well as to detect the thermal infrared
emission from TrES-1, HD209458b, and HD189733b (Charbonneau et
al. 2005; Deming et al. 2005; Deming et al. 2006). They
have been used to investigate the spin-orbit alignment of
HD209458b (Queloz et al. 200, Winn et al. 2005) and HD189733b (Winn
et al. 2006). Most recently, spectra of the infrared planetary
emission of HD189733b (Grillmair et al. 2007) and
HD209458b (Richardson et al. 2007), obtained with the Spitzer
Space Telescope, have been used to constrain models of the atmospheric
content of those planets. The fourteen transiting planets have
provided the first clues about the physics of these other worlds.
Matthew Holman (CfA) and Josh Winn (MIT) have begun the Transit Light
Curve (TLC) Project, a program of monitoring transiting planets with
CfA telescopes. The principal goals of the project: (1) to refine
the estimates of the physical and orbital parameters of these systems;
(2) to search for evidence of additional planets; and (3) to search
for the reflected light of the planet near the times of secondary eclipse.
Matthew J. Holman
Photometry of the transiting planet TrES-2 in the z band, using
the F. L. Whipple Observatory's 1.2m telescope and Keplercam. These
data were used to estimate the planetary, stellar, and orbital parameters of TrES-2.
The bottom panel is a composite light curve created from the three data
sets, after time-shifting and averaging into 2~min bins. The
residuals (observed-calculated) are plotted beneath the data.