Detection of co-orbital planets by combining transit and radial-velocity measurements

Adrien Leleu, Philippe Robutel, Alexandre C M Correia, Jorge Lillo-Box. 2017. Detection of co-orbital planets by combining transit and radial-velocity measurements. Astronomy and Astrophysics 599, 7, DOI https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/201630073

Co-orbital planets have not yet been discovered, although they constitute a frequent by-product of planetary formation and evolution models. This lack may be due to observational biases, since the main detection methods are unable to spot co-orbital companions when they are small or near the Lagrangian equilibrium points. However, for a system with one known transiting planet (with mass m1), we can detect a co-orbital companion (with mass m2) by combining the time of mid-transit with the radial-velocity data of the star. Here, we propose a simple method that allows the detection of co-orbital companions, valid for eccentric orbits, that relies on a single parameter α, which is proportional to the mass ratio m2/m1. Therefore, when α is statistically different from zero, we have a strong candidate to harbour a co-orbital companion. We also discuss the relevance of false positives generated by different planetary configurations.

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