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Direct Imaging of Planet Transit Events

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 April 2014

Gerard T. van Belle
Affiliation:
Lowell Observatory, Flagstaff, Arizona, USA email: gerard@lowell.edu
Kaspar von Braun
Affiliation:
California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, USA email: kaspar@ipac.caltech.edu
Tabetha Boyajian
Affiliation:
Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA email: tabetha@chara.gsu.edu
Gail Schaefer
Affiliation:
Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA email: schaefer@chara-array.org
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Abstract

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Exoplanet transit events are attractive targets for the ultrahigh-resolution capabilities afforded by optical interferometers. The intersection of two developments in astronomy enable direct imaging of exoplanet transits: first, improvements in sensitivity and precision of interferometric instrumentation; and second, identification of ever-brighter host stars. Efforts are underway for the first direct high-precision detection of closure phase signatures with the CHARA Array and Navy Precision Optical Interferometer. When successful, these measurements will enable recovery of the transit position angle on the sky, along with characterization of other system parameters, such as stellar radius, planet radius, and other parameters of the transit event. This technique can directly determine the planet's radius independent of any outside observations, and appears able to improve substantially upon other determinations of that radius; it will be possible to extract wavelength dependence of that radius determination, for connection to characterization of planetary atmospheric composition & structure. Additional directly observed parameters - also not dependent on transit photometry or spectroscopy - include impact parameter, transit ingress time, and transit velocity.

Type
Contributed Papers
Copyright
Copyright © International Astronomical Union 2014 

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