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Probing extrasolar planet atmospheres through transits

  • Ignas Snellen (a1) (a2)

Abstract

A revolution is taking place in the research of extra-solar planets with the discovery of the first exoplanets only a decade ago to the more than 100 systems known to date. Almost all of these extrasolar planets have been discovered using the radial velocity technique. Unfortunately, this limits the amount of information which can be obtain from these systems, with a $\sin i$ ambiguity in the planet's mass, and no further measurements of fundamental parameters as long as these planets can not be detected directly. This situation is very different in the rare case that the orbit of a planet has an inclination such that it occults its host star, as in the case of HD 209458b. Not only can the mass and radius of the planet be accurately determined, but it makes the system also suitable for many detailed follow-up studies, in particular atmospheric transmission spectroscopy. This has resulted in the detection of the atmosphere of HD 209458b in Sodium, and the discovery of an evaporating exosphere in Hydrogen, Carbon and Oxygen using the Hubble Space Telescope. In this paper I briefly review transiting exoplanets and methods to probe their atmospheres, with the emphasis on a new method of transmission spectroscopy making use of the Rossiter effect, which may be more suitable for the large ground-based telescopes.To search for other articles by the author(s) go to: http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abstract_service.html

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Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union
  • ISSN: 1743-9213
  • EISSN: 1743-9221
  • URL: /core/journals/proceedings-of-the-international-astronomical-union
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