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A Giant Planet Orbiting Two Suns in the Habitable Zone

15 Jun 2016, 22:00 UTC
A Giant Planet Orbiting Two Suns in the Habitable Zone
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Figure 1: Artist’s impression of a giant planet hosting a large, potentially habitable moon.Kepler-1647 is an eclipsing binary system consisting of a pair of somewhat Sun-like stars. One star is slightly large than the Sun (primary star) and the other is slightly smaller (secondary star). An eclipsing binary system is basically a binary star system whose brightness varies periodically as the orbital plane of the two stars is orientated such that the two stars periodically pass in front of one another. Observations by NASA’s Kepler space telescope revealed the presence of a giant planet, identified as Kepler-1647b, in orbit around the eclipsing binary system.Kepler-1647b is known as a transiting circumbinary planet as it orbits two stars. It has a very long orbital period of about 1100 days, making it longest-period transiting circumbinary planet discovered to date and one of the longest-period transiting planets. In total, Kepler-1647b produced three transits. Two transits were across the secondary star and one was a heavily blended transit across the primary star. During the heavily blended transit, both Kepler-1647b and the secondary star were simultaneously crossing the line of sight to the primary star. Such an event is relatively rare, and it is referred to ...

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