Searching for Planetary Transits in Globular Clusters – 47 Tucanae and omega Centauri
Authors: David T.F Weldrake, Penny D Sackett, Terry J Bridges
Comments: 6 pages, 2 figures. To appear in the PASP proceedings of “Transiting Extrasolar Planets Workshop” MPIA Heidelberg Germany, 25th-28th September 2006. Eds: Cristina Afonso, David Weldrake & Thomas Henning
We have performed a large ground-based search for transiting Hot Jupiter planets in the outer regions of the globular clusters 47 Tucanae and omega Centauri. The aim was to help understand the role that environmental effects play on Hot Jupiter formation and survivability in globular clusters. Using the ANU 1m telescope and a 52′ X 52′ field, a total of 54,000 solar-type stars were searched for transits in both clusters with fully tested transit-finding algorithms. Detailed Monte Carlo simulations were performed to model the datasets and calculate the expected planet yields. Seven planets were expected in 47 Tuc, and five in omega Cen. Despite a detailed search, no planet-like candidates were identified in either cluster. Combined with previous theoretical studies of planet survivability, and the HST null result in the core of 47 Tuc, the lack of detections in the uncrowded outer regions of both clusters indicates that stellar metallicity is the dominant factor inhibiting Hot Jupiter formation in the cluster environment.