Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc., 449, 1408-1421 (2015/May-2)
The relation between the transit depths of KIC 12557548b and the stellar rotation period.
CROLL B., RAPPAPORT S. and LEVINE A.M.
Abstract (from CDS):
Kawahara and collaborators analysed the transits of the candidate disintegrating Mercury-mass planet KIC 12557548b and suggested that the transit depths were correlated with the phase of the stellar rotation. We have carried out a more extensive and comprehensive analysis of the transit depths of KIC 12557548b and confirm that there is indeed a robust, statistically significant signal in the transit depths at the rotation period of the spotted host star. This signal is more prominent in the first-half of the Kepler data, and is not due to leakage of the rotating spot signal into our measurement of the transit depths, or due to unocculted starspots. We quantitatively investigate the suggestion that this signal could be due to an active region on the star, emitting enhanced ultraviolet or X-ray radiation leading to an increased mass-loss rate of the planet; we demonstrate that such a scenario could cause both modulation of the transit depths of KIC 12557548b, and small enough transit-timing variations that they might not be detected in the Kepler data. Our preferred explanation, however, for the fact that the transit depths of KIC 12557548b are modulated with the stellar rotation phase is that the candidate transiting planet is occulting starspots on this highly spotted star; such a scenario could cause transit depth variations as large as have been observed, and cause transit-timing variations small enough that they are arguably consistent with the Kepler data.