Author(s)Becker, Andrew C.
Williams, Benjamin F.
Rose, Amy E.
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AbstractWe present transit observations of the WASP-2 exoplanet system by the Apache Point Survey of Transit Lightcurves of Exoplanets (APOSTLE) program. Model fitting to these data allows us to improve measurements of the hot-Jupiter exoplanet WASP-2b and its orbital parameters by a factor of ~2 over prior studies; we do not find evidence for transit depth variations. We do find reduced chi^2 values greater than 1.0 in the observed minus computed transit times. A sinusoidal fit to the residuals yields a timing semi-amplitude of 32 seconds and a period of 389 days. However, random rearrangements of the data provide similar quality fits, and we cannot with certainty ascribe the timing variations to mutual exoplanet interactions. This inconclusive result is consistent with the lack of incontrovertible transit timing variations (TTVs) observed in other hot-Jupiter systems. This outcome emphasizes that unique recognition of TTVs requires dense sampling of the libration cycle (e.g. continuous observations from space-based platforms). However, even in systems observed with the Kepler spacecraft, there is a noted lack of transiting companions and TTVs in hot-Jupiter systems. This result is more meaningful, and indicates that hot-Jupiter systems, while they are easily observable from the ground, do not appear to be currently configured in a manner favorable to the detection of TTVs. The future of ground-based TTV studies may reside in resolving secular trends, and/or implementation at extreme quality observing sites to minimize atmospheric red noise.
Comment: ApJ Letters, accepted