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Kepler-413b: A Circumbinary “Warm-Neptune”

4 Feb 2014, 12:55 UTC
Kepler-413b: A Circumbinary “Warm-Neptune” NASA/JPL-Caltech
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Two years ago, the first transiting circumbinary planet, Kepler-16b, was discovered. Since then, several more circumbinary planets have been found. As the term suggests, a circumbinary planet is a planet that orbits two stars instead of one. Recently, Kostov et al. (2014) report the discovery of Kepler-413b - a Neptune-sized transiting circumbinary planet. Kepler-413b orbits a pair of stars, both of which are less massive and less luminous than the Sun. The two stars, one a spectral class K-type star and the other an M-type star, circle around each other every 10.1 days. Both stars form a K + M eclipsing binary system. Further out, Kepler-413b circles the pair every ~66 days on a somewhat eccentric orbit.Figure 1: Artist’s impression of a possible view from the surface of a circumbinary planet. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.Kepler-413b was discovered using data from NASA’s Kepler space telescope. The Kepler light curve data for Kepler-413b show a set of 3 transits separated by ~66 days, followed by ~800 days with no transits, followed by another set of 5 transits with each transit again ~66 days apart. There is a small misalignment of ~2.5° between the orbital planet of the K + M binary and the orbital ...

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