Analytic approximations for transit light-curve observables, uncertainties, and covariances

Joshua A. Carter, Jennifer C. Yee, Jason Eastman, B. Scott Gaudi, Joshua N. Winn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

125 Scopus citations


The light curve of an exoplanetary transit can be used to estimate the planetary radius and other parameters of interest. Because accurate parameter estimation is a nonanalytic and computationally intensive problem, it is often useful to have analytic approximations for the parameters as well as their uncertainties and covariances. Here, we give such formulae, for the case of an exoplanet transiting a star with a uniform brightness distribution. We also assess the advantages of some relatively uncorrelated parameter sets for fitting actual data. When limb darkening is significant, our parameter sets are still useful, although our analytic formulae underpredict the covariances and uncertainties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)499-512
Number of pages14
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 10 2008
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Binaries: eclipsing
  • Methods: analytical
  • Planets and satellites: general


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