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Beyond Earthly Skies

An Extreme Planetary System around a Hot Star

18 Mar 2015, 22:00 UTC
An Extreme Planetary System around a Hot Star
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KIC 10001893 is one of 19 subdwarf B (sdB) stars observed by NASA’s Kepler space telescope during its primary mission. An sdB star is a type of very hot star, typically containing ~0.5 times the Sun’s mass. It represents one of the final stages in the evolution of some stars. An sdB star forms when a red giant star loses its outer hydrogen layers before helium in its core starts fusing into carbon. As a consequence, an sdB star is almost entirely comprised of helium, with only a thin outer layer of hydrogen.R. Silvotti et al. (2014) report the detection of three Earth-size planet candidates in very close-in orbits around KIC 10001893. The three planet candidates have orbital periods of 5.273, 7.807 and 19.48 hours. KIC 10001893 is a very hot star with an estimated surface temperature around 26,700 K. For comparison, the Sun’s effective surface temperature is only 5,778 K. Being so close to such a hot star, the day sides of the three planet candidates are expected to be heated to extraordinary temperatures, possibly up to several thousand degrees K.Figure 1: Artist’s impression of a superheated planet.The extreme planetary system around KIC 10001893 resembles the two Earth-size planets ...

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