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Statistical patterns in ground-based transit surveys

  • Andrew Collier Cameron (a1)

Abstract

As the number of known transiting planets from ground-based surveys passes the 100 mark, it is becoming possible to perform meaningful statistical analyses on their physical properties. Caution is needed in their interpretation, because subtle differences in survey strategy can lead to surprising selection effects affecting the distributions of planetary orbital periods and radii, and of host-star metallicity. Despite these difficulties, the planetary mass-radius relation appears to conform more or less to theoretical expectations in the mass range from Saturns to super-Jupiters. The inflated radii of many hot Jupiters indicate that environmental factors can have a dramatic effect on planetary structure, and may even lead to catastrophic loss of the planetary envelope under extreme irradiation. High-precision radial velocities and secondary-eclipse timing are yielding eccentricity measurements of exquisite precision. They show some hot Jupiters to be in almost perfectly circular orbits, while others remain slightly but significantly eccentric.

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