A box-fitting algorithm in the search for periodic transits

G. Kovács*, S. Zucker, T. Mazeh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

856 Scopus citations


We study the statistical characteristics of a box-fitting algorithm to analyze stellar photometric time series in the search for periodic transits by extrasolar planets. The algorithm searches for signals characterized by a periodic alternation between two discrete levels, with much less time spent at the lower level. We present numerical as well as analytical results to predict the possible detection significance at various signal parameters. It is shown that the crucial parameter is the effective signal-to-noise ratio - the expected depth of the transit divided by the standard deviation of the measured photometric average within the transit. When this parameter exceeds the value of 6 we can expect a significant detection of the transit. We show that the box-fitting algorithm performs better than other methods available in the astronomical literature, especially for low signal-to-noise ratios.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-377
Number of pages9
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Methods: data analysis
  • Occultations
  • Stars: planetary systems
  • Stars: variables: general


Dive into the research topics of 'A box-fitting algorithm in the search for periodic transits'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this