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Paper: Precise Photometry of Extrasolar Planet Transits with SOFIA
Volume: 366, Transiting Extrasolar Planets Workshop
Page: 256
Authors: Dunham, E.W.; Elliot, J.L.; Brown, T.M.; Charbonneau, D.; McLean, I.S.
Abstract: Precise photometric observations of transiting extrasolar planets can provide a wealth of data on the nature of these objects. Results such as planetary radius, orbital inclination, stellar limb darkening, evidence for planetary satellites or rings, and atmospheric composition can be found from the transit observation alone. When combined with high quality radial velocity data the mass and density of the planet can be determined. Infrared observations of the secondary minimum provide a means to determine the temperature of the planet and allow limits on the orbital eccentricity to be defined. Perturbations by other planets in the system can be found by variations in transit timing over a period of years.
We anticipate that very high quality transit data can be obtained with SOFIA using the HIPO and FLITECAM science instruments. At present this work is limited to the nine brightest known transiting planets, but the field is so active that many additional targets will be found. The ongoing spectroscopic planet search programs and several ongoing transit search programs designed specifically to find objects bright enough for detailed follow-up work are expected to add numerous objects to this list over SOFIA’s lifetime. The Kepler mission will be launched and complete its mission while SOFIA is flying, producing numerous exciting opportunities for additional work.
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