Discovery of the First Transiting Planets

  • Edward W. DunhamEmail author
Reference work entry


Early thinking about detecting extrasolar planets was largely circumscribed by the expectation that other solar systems would be similar to our own, the only known example at the time. Given this mind-set, transit detections were expected to be exceedingly difficult for small planets and rarely seen for larger ones. The discovery of 51 Peg and subsequent hot Jupiters by the radial velocity method completely upended our thinking – transits were suddenly practical, perhaps even easy! This immediately led to follow-up searches for transits in systems discovered by the radial velocity technique and, conversely, to wide-field ground-based transit search programs with radial velocity follow-up observations. As is usually the case, transit work turned out to be harder than initially expected but was still possible and productive. This chapter reviews the circumstances leading to the first transit observations of HD 209458, the early OGLE exoplanets, and TrES-1 and TrES-2, as well as some of the frustrations and difficulties encountered along the way.


Transit photometry History Discovery TrES OGLE HD209458 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Lowell ObservatoryFlagstaffUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Tsevi Mazeh
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Physics and AstronomyTel Aviv UniversityTel AvivIsrael

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