Title: Exoplanet Transit Variability: Bow Shocks and Winds Around HD 189733b
Authors: J. Llama, A. A. Vidotto, M. Jardine, K. Wood, R. Fares, T. I. Gombosi
First Author’s Institution: University of St. Andrews
The amount of light blocked by the bow shock will change as the planet moves through a variable stellar wind. By studying the transit light curves, we could map out the different regions of stellar wind. The authors previously investigated the relationship between stellar wind and transit light curves in the WASP-12 system and presented their results at the IAU Planet Formation Symposium. In this paper, they improve on their model and apply it to a different planetary system, HD 189733.The authors start with maps of the magnetic field of the star, based on data collected by the Canada-France-Hawaii telescope in June 2007 and July 2008. They use this maps to create a model of the stellar winds around the star at each time. Next, they model the bow shock created as the planet passes through the stellar wind. Finally, they simulate the light curves that would result from the planet and bow shock orbiting in front of the star. The angle at which the stellar wind hits the planet can change the strength of the bow shock, so the authors ran the models multiple times, trying the strongest and weakest possible bow shocks, as well as an intermediate bow shock. The results are shown in Fig. 2.
There were no transit observations taken at the same time as the magnetic field observations of HD 189733, so the authors weren’t trying to reproduce a set of observed light curves. Instead, they wanted to demonstrate that their model could use magnetic field maps to simulate asymmetric light curves. This model can easily be adapted to other systems. The next step will be to take observations of both a star’s magnetic field and the exoplanet transit taken at the same time, and test whether the model can work in reverse: can the transit light curves be used to generate a partial map of the magnetic field? This would make it possible for observers to study the magnetic field of a star using only the exoplanet transit data!