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Kepler-407b: A Superheated Earth-Size Planet

13 Feb 2015, 22:00 UTC
Kepler-407b: A Superheated Earth-Size Planet
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Kepler-407b is a transiting Earth-size planet detected by NASA’s Kepler space telescope. Measuring 1.07 ± 0.02 times the radius of Earth, Kepler-407b also whizzes around its host star, a Sun-like star, in an extremely close-in orbit with a period of only 16 hours. At such close proximity to its host star, temperatures on the planet’s day side are expected to reach well over 2000 K.Kepler-407b is most likely tidally-locked with the same side of the planet always pointed towards its host star. A lave ocean could exist on the planet’s intensely hot day side where temperatures are too high for rock material to remain solid. Kepler-407b joins a growing list of planets with orbital periods less than 24 hours. Other similar planets include Kepler-10b and Kepler-78b.Follow-up radial velocity (RV) measurements to determine the mass of Kepler-407b could only provide a one sigma upper limit of 1.7 times the mass of Earth. These RV measurements also detected the partial orbit of an outer, non-transiting planet, hereafter identified as Kepler-407c. Given that only a quarter of a potentially ~10 year long orbit was measured by RV, the planet’s orbit and mass could only be weakly constrained.Kepler-407c is estimated to have an orbital ...

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