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Searching for the Transit of the Earth-mass Exoplanet Proxima Centauri b in Antarctica: Preliminary Result

Liu, Hui-Gen and Jiang, Peng and Huang, Xingxing and Yu, Zhou-Yi and Yang, Ming and Jia, Minghao and Awiphan, Supachai and Pan, Xiang and Liu, Bo and Zhang, Hongfei and Wang, Jian and Li, Zhengyang and Du, Fujia and Li, Xiaoyan and Lu, Haiping and Zhang, Zhiyong and Tian, Qi-Guo and Li, Bin and Ji, Tuo and Zhang, Shaohua and Shi, Xiheng and Wang, Ji and Zhou, Ji-Lin and Zhou, Hongyan (2018) Searching for the Transit of the Earth-mass Exoplanet Proxima Centauri b in Antarctica: Preliminary Result. Astronomical Journal, 155 (1). Art. No. 12. ISSN 1538-3881. http://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20180104-134958797

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Abstract

Proxima Centauri is known as the closest star to the Sun. Recently, radial velocity (RV) observations revealed the existence of an Earth-mass planet around it. With an orbital period of ~11 days, Proxima Centauri b is probably in the habitable zone of its host star. We undertook a photometric monitoring campaign to search for its transit, using the Bright Star Survey Telescope at the Zhongshan Station in Antarctica. A transit-like signal appearing on 2016 September 8 has been tentatively identified. Its midtime, T_C = 2,457,640.1990 ± 0.0017 HJD, is consistent with the predicted ephemeris based on the RV orbit in a 1σ confidence interval. Time-correlated noise is pronounced in the light curve of Proxima Centauri, affecting the detection of transits. We develop a technique, in a Gaussian process framework, to gauge the statistical significance of a potential transit detection. The tentative transit signal reported here has a confidence level of 2.5σ. Further detection of its periodic signals is necessary to confirm the planetary transit of Proxima Centauri b. We plan to monitor Proxima Centauri in the next polar night at Dome A in Antarctica, taking advantage of continuous darkness. Kipping et al. reported two tentative transit-like signals of Proxima Centauri b observed by the Microvariability and Oscillation of Stars space telescope in 2014 and 2015. The midtransit time of our detection is 138 minutes later than that predicted by their transit ephemeris. If all of the signals are real transits, the misalignment of the epochs plausibly suggests transit timing variations of Proxima Centauri b induced by an outer planet in this system.


Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
https://doi.org/10.3847/1538-3881/aa9b86DOIArticle
http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.3847/1538-3881/aa9b86/metaPublisherArticle
https://arxiv.org/abs/1711.07018arXivDiscussion Paper
ORCID:
AuthorORCID
Liu, Hui-Gen0000-0001-5162-1753
Jiang, Peng0000-0002-5387-7952
Ji, Tuo0000-0002-9000-4915
Zhang, Shaohua0000-0001-8485-2814
Shi, Xiheng0000-0002-6710-7537
Wang, Ji0000-0002-4361-8885
Zhou, Ji-Lin0000-0003-1680-2940
Zhou, Hongyan0000-0003-1956-9021
Additional Information:© 2017 The American Astronomical Society. Received 2017 March 6; revised 2017 November 14; accepted 2017 November 14; published 2017 December 13. The authors appreciate the enlightening suggestions from the anonymous referee, which helped to greatly improve the quality of this paper. This work is supported by the Astronomical Project for the Chinese Antarctic Inland Station, the SOC Program (CHINARE2012-02-03, CHINARE2013-02-03, CHINARE2014-02-03, CHINARE2015-02-03, and CHINARE2016-02-03), and the National Basic Research Program of China (2013CB834905, 2013CB834900, and 2015CB857005). H.-G.L. is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (11503009, 11333002). P.J. is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (11233002, U1431229). X.H. acknowledges support from the China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (2015M582000). Q.-G.T. is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (11503023), the Natural Science Foundation of Shanghai (14ZR1444100), and the Polar Science Innovation Fund for Young Scientists of Polar Research Institute of China (CX20130201). H.Z. is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (11473025, 11421303, 11033007). The authors express sincere appreciation to Mr. Yongxiang Tang (the leader) and all team members at the Chinese Zhongshan Station, who made the operation of BSST in Antarctica possible in the winter of 2016.
Funders:
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Astronomical Project for the Chinese Antarctic Inland StationCHINARE2012-02-03
Astronomical Project for the Chinese Antarctic Inland StationCHINARE2013-02-03
Astronomical Project for the Chinese Antarctic Inland StationCHINARE2014-02-03
Astronomical Project for the Chinese Antarctic Inland StationCHINARE2015-02-03
Astronomical Project for the Chinese Antarctic Inland StationCHINARE2016-02-03
National Basic Research Program of China2013CB834905
National Basic Research Program of China2013CB834900
National Basic Research Program of China2015CB857005
National Natural Science Foundation of China11503009
National Natural Science Foundation of China11333002
National Natural Science Foundation of China11233002
National Natural Science Foundation of ChinaU1431229
China Postdoctoral Science Foundation2015M582000
National Natural Science Foundation of China11503023
Natural Science Foundation of Shanghai14ZR1444100
Polar Research Institute of ChinaCX20130201
National Natural Science Foundation of China11473025
National Natural Science Foundation of China11421303
National Natural Science Foundation of China11033007
Subject Keywords:methods: data analysis – planets and satellites: terrestrial planets – stars: individual (Proxima Centauri) – techniques: photometric
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20180104-134958797
Persistent URL:http://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20180104-134958797
Official Citation:Hui-Gen Liu et al 2018 AJ 155 12
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:84081
Collection:CaltechAUTHORS
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:04 Jan 2018 22:21
Last Modified:04 Jan 2018 22:21

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