Encyclopedia of Astrobiology

Living Edition
| Editors: Muriel Gargaud, William M. Irvine, Ricardo Amils, Henderson James Cleaves, Daniele Pinti, José Cernicharo Quintanilla, Michel Viso

Planet Detection; Eclipse Timing Variation

  • Nader Haghighipour
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27833-4_5291-8


Planet detection from eclipse timing variations is a method for determining the existence and properties of a planet in an eclipsing binary star system from the gravitational perturbations the planet induces in the orbit of the binary.


The mutual orbit of an isolated, unperturbed binary star system is purely Keplerian. That is, the two stars of the binary revolve around their center of mass in Keplerian orbits. In such systems, the orbital evolution of the system can be predicted precisely. If the two stars eclipse each other (in which case the system is known as an eclipsing binary), the eclipses will happen at the same time and will have the same durations. However, if the orbit of the binary is perturbed, changes will appear in the period of the binary eclipses. This is known as Eclipse Timing Variation or ETV.

Eclipse timing variations may be induced by several processes (Conroy et al. 2014):
  1. 1.

    Light travel time effect (LITE): a third body perturbing the center...


Orbital Evolution Keplerian Orbit Extrasolar Planet Orbit Transfer Apsidal Motion 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
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References and Further Reading

  1. Applegate JH (1992) A mechanism for orbital period modulation in close binaries. Astrophys J 385:621CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  2. Conroy KE, Prsa A, Stassun KG, Orosz JA, Fabrycky DA, Welsh WF (2014) Kepler eclipsing binary stars. IV. Precise eclipse times for close binaries and identification of candidate three-body systems. Astron J 147:45CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  3. Deeg HJ, Ocana B, Kozhevnikov VP, Charbonneau D, O’Donovan FT, Doyle LR (2008) Extrasolar planet detection by binary stellar eclipse timing: evidence for a third body around CM Draconis. Astron Astrophys 480:563CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  4. Doyle LR, Deeg H-J (2004) Timing detection of eclipsing binary planets and transiting extrasolar moons. In: Norris R, Stootman F (eds) Bioastronomy 2002: life among the stars. Proceedings of IAU symposium, vol 213. Astronomical Society of the Pacific, San Francisco, p 80Google Scholar
  5. Doyle LR et al (1998) Detectability of Jupiter-to-Brown-Dwarf-Mass companions around small eclipsing binary systems. In: Rebolo R, Martin EL, Zapatero-Osorio MR (eds) Detectability of Jupiter-to-brown-dwarf-mass companions around small eclipsing binary system, brown dwarfs & extrasolar planets. ASP conference series vol 134. Astronomical Society of the Pacific, San Francisco, p 224Google Scholar
  6. Muterspaugh MW, Konacki M, Lane BF, Pfahl E (2010) Observational techniques for detecting planets in binary systems. In: Haghighipour N (ed) Planets in binary star systems. Astrophysics and space science library, vol 366. Springer, Berlin, p 77Google Scholar
  7. Schneider J, Chevreton M (1990) The photometric search for earth-sized extrasolar planets by occultation in binary systems. Astron Astrophys 232:251ADSGoogle Scholar
  8. Schneider J, Doyle LR (1995) Ground-based detection of terrestrial extrasolar planets by photometry: the case for CM Draconis. Earth Moon Planet 71:153CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  9. Schwarz R, Haghighipour N, Eggl S, Pilat-Lohinger E, Funk B (2011) Prospects of the detection of circumbinary planets with Kepler and CoRoT using the variations of eclipse timing. Mon Not R Astron Soc 414:2763CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  10. Sybilski P, Konacki M, Kozlowski S (2011) Detecting circumbinary planets using eclipse timing of binary stars – numerical simulations. Mon Not R Astron Soc 405:657ADSGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for AstronomyUniversity of Hawaii-ManoaHonoluluUSA