41 new transiting planets in Kepler field of view

Aug 27, 2012 by Michele Johnson
The diagram shows the newly submitted transiting planets in green along with the unconfirmed planet candidates in the same system in violet. The systems are ordered horizontally by increasing Kepler number and KOI designation and vertically by orbital period. Image credit: Jason Steffen, Fermilab Center for Particle Astrophysics

(Phys.org)—Two newly submitted studies verify 41 new transiting planets in 20 star systems. These results may increase the number of Kepler's confirmed planets by more than 50 percent: to 116 planets hosted in 67 systems, over half of which contain more than one planet. The papers are currently under scientific peer-review.

Nineteen of the newly validated planetary systems have two closely spaced transiting planets and one system has three. Five of the systems are common to both of these independent studies.

The planets range from Earth-size to more than seven times the radius of Earth, but generally orbit so close to their parent stars that they are hot, inhospitable worlds.

The planets were confirmed by analyzing Transit Timing Variations (TTVs). In closely packed systems, the gravitational pull of the planets causes the acceleration or deceleration of a planet along its orbit. These "tugs" cause the of each planet to change from one orbit to the next. TTV demonstrates that two transiting are in the same system and that their masses are planetary in nature.

"These systems, with their large , give us important clues about how planetary systems form and evolve," said lead researcher Jason Steffen, the Brinson postdoctoral fellow at Fermilab Center for in Batavia, Ill. "This information helps us understand how our own solar system fits into the population of all ."

The two research teams used data from NASA's Kepler , which measures dips in the brightness of more than 150,000 stars, to search for transiting planets.

"The sheer volume of planet candidates being identified by Kepler is inspiring teams to look at the planet confirmation and characterization process differently. This TTV confirmation technique can be applied to large numbers of systems relatively quickly and with little or no follow-up observations from the ground," said Natalie Batalha, Kepler mission scientist at NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif. "Perhaps the bottleneck between identifying planet candidates and confirming them just got a little wider."

Explore further: A star's early chemistry shapes life-friendly atmospheres

More information: To read more about the results, see: J Steffen et al, 2012, Transit Timing Observations from Kepler: VII; and, Ji-Wei Xie, 2012, Transit Timing Variation of Near-Resonant KOI Pairs

Related Stories

Kepler announces 11 planetary systems hosting 26 planets

Jan 26, 2012

(PhysOrg.com) -- NASA's Kepler mission has discovered 11 new planetary systems hosting 26 confirmed planets. These discoveries nearly double the number of verified Kepler planets and triple the number of stars ...

Kepler's astounding haul of multiple-planet systems

May 24, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- NASA's Kepler spacecraft is proving itself to be a prolific planet hunter. Within just the first four months of data, astronomers have found evidence for more than 1,200 planetary candidates. ...

Kepler releases new catalog of planet candidates

Mar 06, 2012

Since science operations began in May 2009, the Kepler team has released two catalogs of transiting planet candidates. The first catalog (Borucki et al, 2010), released in June 2010, contains 312 candidates id ...

Two more kepler planets confirmed

Aug 08, 2011

Hot on the heels of confirming one Kepler planet, the Hobby-Eberly Telescope announces the confirmation of another planet. Another observatory, the Nordic Optical Telescope, confirms its first Kepler planet ...

Recommended for you

A star's early chemistry shapes life-friendly atmospheres

14 hours ago

Born in a disc of gas and rubble, planets eventually come together as larger and larger pieces of dust and rock stick together. They may be hundreds of light-years away from us, but astronomers can nevertheless ...

Image: X-raying the cosmos

Apr 22, 2014

When we gaze up at the night sky, we are only seeing part of the story. Unfortunately, some of the most powerful and energetic events in the Universe are invisible to our eyes – and to even the best optical ...

Mysteries of nearby planetary system's dynamics solved

Apr 22, 2014

Mysteries of one of the most fascinating nearby planetary systems now have been solved, report authors of a scientific paper to be published by the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society in its ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

First-of-its-kind NASA space-weather project

A NASA scientist is launching a one-to-two-year pilot project this summer that takes advantage of U.S. high-voltage power transmission lines to measure a phenomenon that has caused widespread power outages ...

How many moons does Venus have?

There are dozens upon dozens of moons in the Solar System, ranging from airless worlds like Earth's Moon to those with an atmosphere (most notably, Saturn's Titan). Jupiter and Saturn have many moons each, ...