Figuring for Yourself
When astronomers found the first giant planets with orbits of only a few days, they did not know whether those planets were gaseous and liquid like Jupiter or rocky like Mercury. The observations of HD 209458 settled this question because observations of the transit of the star by this planet made it possible to determine the radius of the planet. Use the data given in the text to estimate the density of this planet, and then use that information to explain why it must be a gas giant.
An exoplanetary system has two known planets. Planet X orbits in 290 days and Planet Y orbits in 145 days. Which planet is closest to its host star? If the star has the same mass as the Sun, what is the semi-major axis of the orbits for Planets X and Y?
Kepler’s third law says that the orbital period (in years) is proportional to the square root of the cube of the mean distance (in AU) from the Sun (P ∝ a1.5). For mean distances from 0.1 to 32 AU, calculate and plot a curve showing the expected Keplerian period. For each planet in our solar system, look up the mean distance from the Sun in AU and the orbital period in years and overplot these data on the theoretical Keplerian curve.
Calculate the transit depth for an M dwarf star that is 0.3 times the radius of the Sun with a gas giant planet the size of Jupiter.
If a transit depth of 0.00001 can be detected with the Kepler spacecraft, what is the smallest planet that could be detected around a 0.3 Rsun M dwarf star?
What fraction of gas giant planets seems to have inflated radii?