Journal Article

<span class="smallCaps">luna</span>: an algorithm for generating dynamic planet–moon transits

David M. Kipping

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 416, issue 1, pages 689-709
Published in print September 2011 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online August 2011 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
luna: an algorithm for generating dynamic planet–moon transits

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It has been previously shown that moons of extrasolar planets may be detectable with the Kepler Mission, for moon masses above ∼0.2 M. Transit timing effects have been formerly identified as a potent tool to this end, exploiting the dynamics of the system. In this work, we explore the simulation of transit light curves of a planet plus a single moon including not only the transit timing effects, but also the light-curve signal of the moon itself. We introduce our new algorithm, luna, which produces transit light curves for both bodies, analytically accounting for shadow overlaps, stellar limb darkening and planet–moon dynamical motion. By building the dynamics into the core of luna, the routine automatically accounts for transit-timing/duration variations and ingress/egress asymmetries for not only the planet, but also the moon.

We then generate some artificial data for two feasibly detectable hypothetical systems of interest: (i) prograde and (ii) retrograde Earth-like moons around a habitable-zone Neptune for an M dwarf system. We fit the hypothetical systems using luna and demonstrate the feasibility of detecting these cases with Kepler photometry.

Keywords: methods: analytical; techniques: photometric; eclipses; planets and satellites: general; planetary systems

Journal Article.  11921 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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