Refining The Transit Timing And Photometric Analysis Of TRAPPIST-1: Masses, Radii, Densities, Dynamics, And Ephemerides

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
October 5, 2020
Filed under
Refining The Transit Timing And Photometric Analysis Of TRAPPIST-1: Masses, Radii, Densities, Dynamics, And Ephemerides
TRAPPIST-1 system

We have collected transit times for the TRAPPIST-1 system with the Spitzer Space Telescope over four years.

We add to these ground-based, HST and K2 transit time measurements, and revisit an N-body dynamical analysis of the seven-planet system using our complete set of times from which we refine the mass ratios of the planets to the star. We next carry out a photodynamical analysis of the Spitzer light curves to derive the density of the host star and the planet densities.

We find that all seven planets’ densities may be described with a single rocky mass-radius relation which is depleted in iron relative to Earth, with Fe 21 wt% versus 32 wt% for Earth, and otherwise Earth-like in composition. Alternatively, the planets may have an Earth-like composition, but enhanced in light elements, such as a surface water layer or a core-free structure with oxidized iron in the mantle.

We measure planet masses to a precision of 3-5%, equivalent to a radial-velocity (RV) precision of 2.5 cm/sec, or two orders of magnitude more precise than current RV capabilities. We find the eccentricities of the planets are very small; the orbits are extremely coplanar; and the system is stable on 10 Myr timescales.

We find evidence of infrequent timing outliers which we cannot explain with an eighth planet; we instead account for the outliers using a robust likelihood function. We forecast JWST timing observations, and speculate on possible implications of the planet densities for the formation, migration and evolution of the planet system.

Eric Agol, Caroline Dorn, Simon L. Grimm, Martin Turbet, Elsa Ducrot, Laetitia Delrez, Michael Gillon, Brice-Olivier Demory, Artem Burdanov, Khalid Barkaoui, Zouhair Benkhaldoun, Emeline Bolmont, Adam Burgasser, Sean Carey, Julien de Wit, Daniel Fabrycky, Daniel Foreman-Mackey, Jonas Haldemann, David M. Hernandez, James Ingalls, Emmanuel Jehin, Zachary Langford, Jeremy Leconte, Susan M. Lederer, Rodrigo Luger, Renu Malhotra, Victoria S. Meadows, Brett M. Morris, Francisco J. Pozuelos, Didier Queloz, Sean M. Raymond, Franck Selsis, Marko Sestovic, Amaury H.M.J. Triaud, Valerie Van Grootel

Comments: Comments welcome. Revised draft submitted to the Planetary Sciences Journal in response to first referee report. 56 pages, 30 figures. Data from the paper and a complete table of forecast JWST times may be found at this https URL
Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)
Cite as: arXiv:2010.01074 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:2010.01074v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
Submission history
From: Eric Agol
[v1] Fri, 2 Oct 2020 16:06:37 UTC (7,069 KB)

Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻