Currently, over 40 transiting planets have been discovered by ground-based photometric surveys, and space-based missions such as Kepler and CoRoT are expected to detect hundreds more. Follow-up photometric observations from the ground will play an important role in constraining both orbital and physical parameters for newly discovered planets, especially those with small radii (Rp ≲ 4R ⊕) and/or intermediate-to-long orbital periods (P≳ 30 days). Here, we simulate transit light curves (LCs) from Kepler-like photometry and ground-based observations in the near-infrared (NIR) to determine how jointly modeling space-based and ground-based LCs can improve measurements of the transit duration and planet-star radius ratio. We find that adding observations of at least one ground-based transit to space-based observations can significantly improve the accuracy for measuring the transit duration and planet-star radius ratio of small planets (Rp ≲ 4R ⊕) in long-period (∼1 year) orbits, largely thanks to the reduced effect of limb darkening in the NIR. We also demonstrate that multiple ground-based observations are needed to gain a substantial improvement in the measurement accuracy for small planets with short orbital periods (∼3 days). Finally, we consider the role that higher ground-based precisions will play in constraining parameter measurements for typical Kepler targets. Our results can help inform the priorities of transit follow-up programs (including both primary and secondary transit of planets discovered with Kepler and CoRoT), leading to improved constraints for transit durations, planet sizes, and orbital eccentricities.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science