Journal Article

On stellar limb darkening and exoplanetary transits

Ian D. Howarth

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 418, issue 2, pages 1165-1175
Published in print December 2011 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online November 2011 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
On stellar limb darkening and exoplanetary transits

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This paper examines how to compare stellar limb-darkening coefficients evaluated from model atmospheres with those derived from photometry. Different characterizations of a given model atmosphere can give quite different numerical results (even for a given limb-darkening ‘law’), while light-curve analyses yield limb-darkening coefficients that are dependent on system geometry, and that are not directly comparable to any model-atmosphere representation. These issues are examined in the context of exoplanetary transits, which offer significant advantages over traditional binary-star eclipsing systems in the study of stellar limb darkening. ‘Like for like’ comparisons between light-curve analyses and new model-atmosphere results, mediated by synthetic photometry, are conducted for a small sample of stars. Agreement between the resulting synthetic-photometry/atmosphere-model (SPAM) limb-darkening coefficients and empirical values ranges from very good to quite poor, even though the targets investigated show only a small dispersion in fundamental stellar parameters.

Keywords: stars: atmospheres; binaries: eclipsing

Journal Article.  5646 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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