Using long-term transit timing to detect terrestrial planets
We propose that the presence of additional planets in extrasolar planetary systems can be detected by long-term transit timing studies. If a transiting planet is on an eccentric orbit then the presence of another planet causes a secular advance of the transiting planet's pericentre over and above the effect of general relativity. Although this secular effect is impractical to detect over a small number of orbits, it causes long-term differences when future transits occur, much like the long-term decay observed in pulsars. Measuring this transit-timing delay would thus allow the detection of either one or more additional planets in the system or the first measurements of non-zero oblateness (J2) of the central stars.
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
- Pub Date:
- June 2007
- celestial mechanics;
- planetary systems;
- 10 pages, 5 figures, accepted by Monthly Notices, updated to reflect accepted version