Refining the transit-timing and photometric analysis of TRAPPIST-1: masses, radii, densities, dynamics, and ephemerides

Eric Agol, Caroline Dorn, Simon L. Grimm, Martin Turbet, Elsa Ducrot, Laetitia Delrez, Michael Gillon, Brice-Olivier Demory, Artem Burdanov, Khalid Barkaoui, Zouhair Benkhaldoun, Emeline Bolmont, Adam Burgasser, Sean Carey, Julien de Wit, Daniel Fabrycky, Daniel Foreman-Mackey, Jonas Haldemann, David M. Hernandez, James IngallsEmmanuel Jehin, Zachary Langford, Jeremy Leconte, Susan M. Lederer, Rodrigo Luger, Renu Malhotra, Victoria S. Meadows, Brett M. Morris, Francisco J. Pozuelos, Didier Queloz, Sean M. Raymond, Franck Selsis, Marko Sestovic, Amaury H. M. J. Triaud, Valerie Van Grootel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

180 Downloads (Pure)


We have collected transit times for the TRAPPIST-1 system with the Spitzer Space Telescope over four years. We add to these ground-based, HST, and K2 transit-time measurements, and revisit an N-body dynamical analysis of the seven-planet system using our complete set of times from which we refine the mass ratios of the planets to the star. We next carry out a photodynamical analysis of the Spitzer light curves to derive the density of the host star and the planet densities. We find that all seven planets' densities may be described with a single rocky mass–radius relation which is depleted in iron relative to Earth, with Fe 21 wt% versus 32 wt% for Earth, and otherwise Earth-like in composition. Alternatively, the planets may have an Earth-like composition but enhanced in light elements, such as a surface water layer or a core-free structure with oxidized iron in the mantle. We measure planet masses to a precision of 3%–5%, equivalent to a radial-velocity (RV) precision of 2.5 cm s−1, or two orders of magnitude more precise than current RV capabilities. We find the eccentricities of the planets are very small, the orbits are extremely coplanar, and the system is stable on 10 Myr timescales. We find evidence of infrequent timing outliers, which we cannot explain with an eighth planet; we instead account for the outliers using a robust likelihood function. We forecast JWST timing observations and speculate on possible implications of the planet densities for the formation, migration, and evolution of the planet system.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1
Number of pages38
JournalThe Planetary Science Journal
Issue number1
Early online date22 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021

Bibliographical note

Data from the paper and a complete table of forecast JWST times may be found at


  • Exoplanet astronomy
  • Exoplanet dynamics
  • Extrasolar rocky planets
  • Few-body systems
  • Fundamental parameters of stars
  • Habitable planets
  • Infrared photometry
  • Markov chain Monte Carlo
  • N-body simulations
  • Planetary interior
  • Transit photometry
  • Transit timing variation method


Dive into the research topics of 'Refining the transit-timing and photometric analysis of TRAPPIST-1: masses, radii, densities, dynamics, and ephemerides'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this