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APOSTLE Observations of GJ 1214b: System Parameters and Evidence for Stellar Activity

  • Kundurthy, P.
  • Agol, E.
  • Becker, A. C.
  • Barnes, R.
  • Williams, B.
  • Mukadam, A.
Publication Date
Dec 06, 2010
Submission Date
Dec 06, 2010
DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/731/2/123
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We present three transits of GJ 1214b, observed as part of the Apache Point Observatory Survey of Transit Lightcurves of Exoplanets (APOSTLE). We used APOSTLE r-band lightcurves in conjunction with previously gathered data of GJ 1214b to re-derive system parameters. By using parameters such as transit duration and ingress/egress length we are able to reduce the degeneracies between parameters in the fitted transit model, which is a preferred condition for Markov Chain Monte Carlo techniques typically used to quantify uncertainties in measured parameters. The joint analysis of this multi-wavelength dataset confirms earlier estimates of system parameters including planetary orbital period, the planet-to-star radius ratio and stellar density. We fit the photometric spectralenergy distribution of GJ 1214 to derive stellar luminosity, which we then use to derive its absolute mass and radius. From these derived stellar properties and previously published radial velocity data we were able to refine estimates of the absolute parameters for the planet GJ 1214b. Transit times derived from our study show no evidence for strong transit timing variations. Some lightcurves we present show features that we believe are due to stellar activity. During the first night we observed a rise in the out-of-eclipse flux of GJ 1214 with a characteristic fast-rise exponential decay shape commonly associated with stellar flares. On the second night we observed a minor brightening during transit, which we believe might have been caused by the planet obscuring a star-spot on the stellar disk.

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