CfA Colloquium Schedule Fall 2005
 01 December 2005

01 December 2005

Speaker: Matt Holman (CfA)

Title: The Use of Transit Timing to Detect Extrasolar Planets

Abstract: Future surveys for transiting extrasolar planets, including the space-based mission Kepler (Borucki et al 2003), are expected to detect hundreds of Jovian mass planets and tens of terrestrial mass planets. For many of these newly discovered planets, the intervals between successive transits will be measured with an accuracy of 0.1--100 minutes. These timing measurements allow for the detection of additional planets in the system (not necessarily transiting), via their gravitational interaction with the transiting planet. The transit time variations depend on the mass of the additional planet, and in some cases Earth-mass planets will produce a measurable effect. When two or more planets transit the same star, the densities of the planets can be estimated from the photometry alone. I will discuss these theoretical developments, as well as recent optical follow-up observations of transiting planets with the Magellan 6.5-m telescopes.

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