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A Small Planet with Giant Companions

17 Dec 2015, 22:00 UTC
A Small Planet with Giant Companions
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Figure 1: Artist’s impression of a Jupiter-like planet with a moon in orbit around it.Kepler-454b is an exoplanet that orbits a Sun-like star. It was previously detected by NASA’s Kepler space telescope which hunts for planets by looking for the dip in a star’s brightness when a planet passes in front of it. Kepler-454b is estimated to have 2.37 ± 0.13 times the diameter of Earth based on how much light the planet blocks when it transits its host star. Additionally, the frequency of the transits indicates that Kepler-454b has an orbital period of 10.6 days.Using 63 radial velocity observations obtained with the HARPS-N spectrograph on the Telescopio Nazionale Galileo and 36 radial velocity observations obtained with the HIRES spectrograph at Keck Observatory, Gettel et al. (2015) show that Kepler-454b has 6.8 ± 1.4 times the mass of Earth. Furthermore, the radial velocity measurements also indicate the presence of two additional non-transiting companions.Figure 2: Transit light curve indicating the presence of Kepler-454b. Gettel et al. (2015) Figure 3: Radial velocity measurements from HARPS-N (blue circles) and HIRES (red squares) indicating the presence of Kepler-454b. Gettel et al. (2015)One companion, identified as Kepler-454c, is a Jupiter-like planet with at least 4.46 ± ...

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