Searching for Transit Timing Variations and Fitting a New Ephemeris to Transits of TrES-1 b

Paige Yeung, Quinn Perian, Peyton Robertson, Michael Fitzgerald, Martin Fowler, Frank Sienkiewicz, Kalée Tock

Submitted on 4 July 2022


Based on the light an exoplanet blocks from its host star as it passes in front of it during a transit, the mid-transit time can be determined. Periodic variations in mid-transit times can indicate another planet's gravitational influence. We investigate 83 transits of TrES-1 b as observed from 6-inch telescopes in the MicroObservatory robotic telescope network. The EXOTIC data reduction pipeline is used to process these transits, fit transit models to light curves, and calculate transit midpoints. This paper details the methodology for analyzing transit timing variations (TTVs) and using transit measurements to maintain ephemerides. The application of Lomb-Scargle period analysis for studying the plausibility of TTVs is explained. The analysis of the resultant TTVs from 46 transits from MicroObservatory and 47 transits from archival data in the Exoplanet Transit Database indicated the possible existence of other planets affecting the orbit of TrES-1 and improved the precision of the ephemeris by one order of magnitude. We now estimate the ephemeris to be (2455489.66026 BJDTDB±0.00044 d)+(3.0300689±0.0000007) d×epoch. This analysis also demonstrates the role of small telescopes in making precise mid-transit time measurements, which can be used to help maintain ephemerides and perform TTV analysis. The maintenance of ephemerides allows for an increased ability to optimize telescope time on large ground-based telescopes and space telescope missions.


Comment: 15 pages, 9 figures, accepted by JKAS

Subject: Astrophysics - Earth and Planetary Astrophysics