Stars consist mostly of hydrogen, but their iron content differ dependent on their age. Image credit: NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech
By combining exoplanet orbital information with stellar composition analysis, astronomers have deduced there is a relationship between iron-rich stars and short-period exoplanet orbits. The data collected by NASA’s Kepler spacecraft and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) was essential in this discovery, which will help further our understanding of how planets beyond our Solar System from around different stars.
“Without these detailed and accurate measurements of the iron content of stars, we could have never made this measurement,” says Robert Wilson, a graduate student in astronomy at the University of Virginia.
Using SDSS data, the team of astronomers discovered that stars containing higher concentrations of iron will most likely host planets that orbit closer to them. These planets have shown to orbit their host planet once every eight days or less. On the contrary, stars with less iron host planets with longer orbital periods, meaning are much further away from the star. Further investigation will help us fully understand the variety of extrasolar planetary systems in our galaxy, and how they form and evolve.
The first exoplanet was discovered in 1995 orbiting a ...