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Transit timing variations in WASP-10b induced by stellar activity

S. C. C. Barros, G. Boué, N. P. Gibson, D. Pollacco, A. Santerne, F. P. Keenan, I. Skillen, R. A. Street

The hot-Jupiter WASP-10b was reported by Maciejewski et al. to show transit timing variations (TTVs) with an amplitude of ∼3.5 min. These authors proposed that the observed TTVs were caused by a 0.1MJup perturbing companion with an orbital period of ∼5.23 d, and hence, close to the outer 5:3 mean-motion resonance with WASP-10b. To test this scenario, we present eight new transit light curves of WASP-10b obtained with the Faulkes Telescope North and the Liverpool Telescope. The new light curves, together with 22 previously published ones, were modelled with a Markov Chain Monte Carlo transit fitting code. Transit depth differences reported for WASP-10b are thought to be due to starspot-induced brightness modulation of the host star. Assuming the star is brighter at the activity minimum, we favour a small planetary radius. We find Rp=1.039+0.0430.049RJup in agreement with Johnson et al. and Maciejewski et al. Recent studies find no evidence for a significant eccentricity in this system. We present consistent system parameters for a circular orbit and refine the orbital ephemeris of WASP-10b. Our homogeneously derived transit times do not support the previous claimed TTV signal, which was strongly dependent on two previously published transits that have been incorrectly normalized. Nevertheless, a linear ephemeris is not a statistically good fit to the transit times of WASP-10b. We show that the observed transit time variations are due to spot occultation features or systematics. We discuss and exemplify the effects of occultation spot features in the measured transit times and show that despite spot occultation during egress and ingress being difficult to distinguish in the transit light curves, they have a significant effect in the measured transit times. We conclude that if we account for spot features, the transit times of WASP-10b are consistent with a linear ephemeris with the exception of one transit (epoch 143) which is a partial transit. Therefore, there is currently no evidence for the existence of a companion to WASP-10b. Our results support the lack of TTVs of hot-Jupiters reported for the Kepler sample.

techniques: photometric - time - stars: activity - stars: individual: WASP-10 - planetary systems - starspots

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume 430, Issue 4, Page 3032
2013 April

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Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa Universidade do Porto Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia da Universidade de Coimbra
Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia COMPETE 2020 PORTUGAL 2020 União Europeia