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Beyond Earthly Skies

Detecting the Presence of an Unseen Hot-Jupiter

13 May 2016, 22:00 UTC
Detecting the Presence of an Unseen Hot-Jupiter
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Hot-Jupiters are a class of Jupiter-like planets that orbit very close to their host stars. They have orbital periods of only a few days. The most commonly accepted mechanism regarding the formation of hot-Jupiters is that they formed at larger distances from their host stars before migrating inwards. Alternatively, hot-Jupiters may also form in situ via gas accretion onto massive cores with 10 to 20 times the mass of Earth. Hot-Jupiters that formed in situ are expected to be accompanied by low-mass companion planets with orbital periods of less than ~100 days.Millholland et al. (2016) present the possible detection of a non-transiting hot-Jupiter in a planetary system consisting of two low-mass transiting planet candidates with longer orbital periods. The technique employed to detect this non-transiting hot-Jupiter is a novel one which combines optical phase curve analysis and astrometric transit timing variations (TTVs). Optical phase curve analysis involves measuring the reflected light from the hot-Jupiter as its dayside rotates in and out of view.Astrometric TTVs occurs when the transit timings of the outer planets are not perfectly periodic as the star they orbit is a "moving target". This is because the mass of the hot-Jupiter is sufficiently large to be non-negligible ...

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