Note in Science page
Created Jul 12 10, Updated Sep 27 13 16:32
Detecting new earths with transit timing variations go to comments

Unlike measuring radial velocity, this “new” exoplanet detection method is supposedly sensitive enough to find planets the size of Earth, orbiting around other stars with regular earth based telescopes!

If a planet passes in front of its parent star the observed star visual brightness drops by a small amount. Once a planet has been detected by the transit method, measures of variations in the timing of those transits could allow extremely sensitive detection of additional planets in the system with sizes potentially as small as Earth-sized planets!

An Earth-mass planet could cause deviations in the transit timing of a typical gas giant planet orbiting close to its star by up to 1 minute. This is a big enough effect to be detected with small 1m diameter telescopes! Discoveries can be followed up / confirmed with larger instruments.

(original paper accepted at Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society)
preprint: Transit timing variation in exoplanet WASP-3b

For final interpretation not only transit timing but also photometric observations of the transit of the predicted second planet and the high precision radial-velocity data are needed.

science daily article

2005 science report (theoretical?) article

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