Haul of 50 oscillating stars with orbiting planets found by Kepler Spacecraft

December 12, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Oscillations have been discovered in 50 stars with their own orbiting candidate planets (exo- or extrasolar planets) by an international team of scientists using data from the NASA Kepler Mission, according to an announcement made by one of the lead scientists, Professor Bill Chaplin from the UK’s University of Birmingham, at a NASA conference in California (Friday 9th December, 2011).

Extrasolar planets or exoplanets are that are located outside our solar system. The Kepler spacecraft is monitoring the brightness of more than 150,000 in the Cygnus-Lyrae constellations of our galaxy, the Milky Way. Its data are being used to search for exoplanets and also to monitor the natural of stars, the field of asteroseismology.

The oscillations lead to miniscule changes or pulses in brightness, and are caused by sound trapped inside the stars which makes the stars “ring” or vibrate like musical instruments. By analysing the oscillations, scientists can measure the properties of the stars very accurately and probe their interiors.

As a result of analysing data from Kepler the team has found 50 oscillating stars that are orbited by candidate exoplanets. Results from asteroseismic measurement of the properties of these stars gives data of unprecedented quality for constraining the sizes and ages of the candidate exoplanets and whether they might lie in the Goldilocks or habitable zones of the stars - not too hot or too cold, but just right - and therefore considered favourable to host life.

Professor Bill Chaplin from the University of Birmingham’s School of Physics and Astronomy, who co-led the work, said, "With exquisite data on 50 stars asteroseismology is making a significant contribution to the exoplanet discoveries. We have accurate enough data on a big enough sample of stars to really help statistical studies aimed at understanding how planetary systems form and evolve around other stars, and how common or unusual our own solar system might be."

Explore further: NASA Releases Kepler Data on Potential Extrasolar Planets

Related Stories

NASA Releases Kepler Data on Potential Extrasolar Planets

June 16, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- NASA's Kepler Mission has released 43 days of science data on more than 156,000 stars. These stars are being monitored for subtle brightness changes as part of an ongoing search for Earth-like planets outside ...

NASA's Kepler reaches into the stars

April 13, 2011

We are entering a golden era for "stellar physics" – a term coined to describe research about the formation, evolution, interior and the atmospheres of stars. Thanks to a partnership forged among stellar astrophysics, ...

An exoplanet orbiting a double star

October 3, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- The Kepler satellite, which has now reported the detection of 1781 candidate exoplanets (a planet around a star other than the sun), has also discovered that at least one of them orbits a double star. Each ...

Recommended for you

NASA selects investigations for future key planetary mission

October 1, 2015

NASA has selected five science investigations for refinement during the next year as a first step in choosing one or two missions for flight opportunities as early as 2020. Three of those chosen have ties to NASA's Jet Propulsion ...

Dawn team shares new maps and insights about Ceres

October 1, 2015

Mysteries and insights about Ceres are being discussed this week at the European Planetary Science Conference in Nantes, France. NASA's Dawn spacecraft is providing scientists with tantalizing views and other data about the ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.