Prospects for the characterization and confirmation of transiting exoplanets via the Rossiter-McLaughlin effect

B. Scott Gaudi, Joshua N. Winn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

184 Scopus citations

Abstract

The Rossiter-McLaughlin (RM) effect is the distortion of stellar spectral lines that occurs during eclipses or transits, due to stellar rotation. We assess the future prospects for using the RM effect to measure the alignment of planetary orbits with the spin axes of their parent stars, and to confirm exoplanetary transits. We compute the achievable accuracy for the parameters of interest, in general and for the five known cases of transiting exoplanets with bright host stars. We determine the requirements for detecting the effects of differential rotation. For transiting planets with small masses or long periods (as will be detected by forthcoming satellite missions), the velocity anomaly produced by the RM effect can be much larger than the orbital velocity of the star. For a terrestrial planet in the habitable zone of a Sunlike star found by the Kepler mission, it will be difficult to use the RM effect to confirm transits with current instruments, but it still may be easier than measuring the spectroscopic orbit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)550-563
Number of pages14
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume655
Issue number1 I
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 20 2007
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

Keywords

  • Planetary systems
  • Stars: rotation

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Prospects for the characterization and confirmation of transiting exoplanets via the Rossiter-McLaughlin effect'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this