Astrophys. J., 701, 1116-1122 (2009/August-3)
Transit timing variations for eccentric and inclined exoplanets.
Abstract (from CDS):
The Transit Timing Variation (TTV) method relies on monitoring changes in timing of transits of known exoplanets. Nontransiting planets in the system can be inferred from TTVs by their gravitational interactions with the transiting planet. The TTV method is sensitive to low-mass planets that cannot be detected by other means. Inferring the orbital elements and mass of the nontransiting planets from TTVs, however, is more challenging than for other planet detection schemes. It is a difficult inverse problem. Here, we extended the new inversion method proposed by Nesvorny & Morbidelli to eccentric transiting planets and inclined orbits. We found that the TTV signal can be significantly amplified for hierarchical planetary systems with substantial orbital inclinations and/or for an eccentric transiting planet with anti-aligned orbit of the planetary companion. Thus, a fortuitous orbital setup of an exoplanetary system may significantly enhance our chances of TTV detection. We also showed that the detailed shape of the TTV signal is sensitive to the orbital inclination of the nontransiting planetary companion. The TTV detection method may thus provide important constraints on the orbital inclination of exoplanets and be used to test theories of planetary formation and evolution.
planetary systems - celestial mechanics
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