Astrophysics (index)

Transiting Planet

(planet crossing between another body and the observer)

A Transiting Planet is a planet crossing between an observer and an astronomical body. Examples are Venus transiting across the Sun, any solar-system planet crossing in front of a star, or an Extra Solar Planet crossing in front of its own star.

Transits are one of the methods by which exoplanets are identified: light from the star is reduced by the amount of light blocked by the planet, typically on the order of 1% for planets discovered. Discovering possible transits can be automated by automatically surveying a lot of stars repeatedly, looking for differences in brightness. The Kepler Telescope space mission is one such initiative.

Apparent transiting exoplanets may be transiting Binary Stars: if either is behind the other, light from the pair will be dimmed, and the dimming can happen periodically. Thus the need for confirmation that it is a planet's transit being observed through analysis and further observation. One sign that it is a planet is that a planet blocking the star's light will block all colors (an achromatic transit) whereas a transiting star is likely to be producing a different spectrum, so that at different colors, the amount of dimming will differ. Thus, observations of the transit at two different colors to compare the amount of dimming is a method of eliminating some phenomena that look like a transiting planet on first observation.

Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR) from the transiting planet can be studied through study of the spectrum through a cycle that occurs through each orbit, i.e., comparing when the dark side of the planet is toward Earth to when the light side is visible. It is also studied through the slight change in Magnitude and spectrum during the Secondary Eclipse, i.e., when the planet is hidden by the star.

Atmospheric makeup has been studied by comparing to what percentage much each Wavelength is blocked during the transit, assuming a partially transparent Atmosphere forms a ring around the opaque disk of the planet and the affect of the atmosphere on the transmitted Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR) can be determined. Some conclusions can be drawn from Absorption Lines and more by comparing to models of plausible atmospheres. The direction of the incoming rays from the star, as affected by refraction must be taken into account.

(transits,exoplanets,planet type,transient)

Referenced by:
Atmospheric Model
Blended Spectra
Color-Color Diagram
Exoplanet Eclipse Light Curve
Extra Solar Planet
GJ 1132 b
GJ 1214 b
MEarth Project (MEarth)
Orbital Inclination
Phase Curve
Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS)