Monday, November 14, 2011

Josh Carter's Exoplanet Talk

Tuesday 3pm in 370 Cahill:

Josh Carter
, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

Kepler's Multi-Eclipsing Hierarchical Triples: Accurate Masses and Radii, Transiting Circumbinary Planets
The Kepler mission has opened a new era of high-precision time-series photometry. It has allowed for the wholesale detection of planetary systems and the detailed characterization of both stars and planets. The Kepler data quality and restricted mission scope has also led to the unveiling of novel events.  Amongst these are the discovery of hierarchical multi-eclipsing systems including those with transiting circumbinary planets (e.g., KOI-126, Kepler-16). These systems are observationally biased to have small periods and period ratios and, consequently, have short (Kepler mission lifetime) secular variation timescales. This dynamical information is encoded in variable eclipse morphologies.  I describe photometric-dynamical fits to the these light curves.  I present results from these fits; namely, I report accurate absolute bulk parameters (stellar and planetary masses and radii) that are determined free of typical model-dependencies.  I compare these parameters with theoretical expectations and comment on the efficacy of stellar models. I briefly address the search for additional transiting circumbinary planets in the Kepler data and discuss future applications of this work.

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