Exoplanets & Exomoons

An Automated Method to Detect Transiting Circumbinary Planets

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
September 17, 2019
Filed under
An Automated Method to Detect Transiting Circumbinary Planets
Circumbinary Planet

To date a dozen transiting “Tatooines” or circumbinary planets (CBPs) have been discovered, by eye, in the data from the Kepler mission; by contrast, thousands of confirmed circumstellar planets orbiting around single stars have been detected using automated algorithms.

Automated detection of CBPs is challenging because their transits are strongly aperiodic with irregular profiles. Here, we describe an efficient and automated technique for detecting circumbinary planets that transit their binary hosts in Kepler light curves. Our method accounts for large transit timing and duration variations (TTVs and TDVs), induced by binary reflex motion, in two ways: 1) We directly correct for large-scale TTVs and TDVs in the light curves by using Keplerian models to approximate binary and CBP orbits; and 2) We allow additional aperiodicities on the corrected light curves by employing the Quasi-periodic Automated Transit Search algorithm (QATS). We demonstrate that our method dramatically improves detection significance using simulated data and two previously identified CBP systems, Kepler-35 and Kepler-64.

Diana Windemuth, Eric Agol, Josh Carter, Eric B. Ford, Nader Haghighipour, Jerome A. Orosz, William F. Welsh
(Submitted on 16 Sep 2019)

Comments: 14 pages, 8 figures. Accepted to MNRAS
Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)
Cite as: arXiv:1909.07443 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:1909.07443v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
Submission history
From: Diana Windemuth
[v1] Mon, 16 Sep 2019 19:22:13 UTC (1,684 KB)

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