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Forgotten Kepler Planet Candidate Orbits Triple-Star System

13 Jan 2021, 22:53 UTC
Forgotten Kepler Planet Candidate Orbits Triple-Star System
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IMAGE: This illustration shows the planet KOI-5Ab transiting across the face of a Sun-like star, which is part of a triple-star system located 1,800 light-years away in the Cygnus constellation. CREDIT: Caltech/R. Hurt (Infrared Processing and Analysis Center, or IPAC

In new research presented at the AAS meeting, researchers present a follow-up on KOI-5Ab, the second potential planet discovered by Kepler.

First spotted in 2009, this system clearly had something going on, but exactly what … well the data was a mess, and this object was set aside. By 2014, researchers were able to say, thanks to follow-up observations with the Keck and Gemini North telescopes, that if KOI-5Ab is a planet, it orbits a triple star system. The data was still too messy to confirm a planet, however.

In 2018, the TESS mission just happened to have this weird system in its field of view. With its more sensitive systems, it was able to tease out just what is going on: this system has at least one planet, KOI-5Ab, that is orbiting the largest star in a triple system. This particular system consists of two larger stars, KOI-5A and B, that orbit together like a binary star, ...

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