Einstein's exoplanet

May 27, 2013
Einstein's exoplanet, Kepler-76b, is a Jupiter-sized planet discovered using an effect of Einstein’s relativity. It orbits its star every 1.5 days. Credit: David A. Aguilar, CfA

(Phys.org) —Eight hundred and eighty nine exoplanets (planets around stars other than our Sun) have been discovered to date. Most of them were found using the Kepler satellite, which spots small dips in a star's light as an orbiting planet periodically blocked our view (a "transit"). The satellite recently halted its operations due to a faulty gyroscope, and so its mission could possibly be over, but there remain a large dataset of possible other exoplanets for study. Meanwhile, NASA has selected a new mission for development: TESS (the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite), on which CfA astronomers, who have played active roles in exoplanet research, continue their leadership.

The dataset has been steadily mined for transiting planets. In a dramatic first, CfA astronomer Dave Latham and four of his colleagues have discovered a new planet in the Kepler data by searching not for transits but for a less well known effect of Einstein's relativity: relativistic beaming. (Latham is being honored this week with a conference entitled, "Exoplanets in the Post-Kepler Era.")

The effect can occur when an orbiting planet induces a slight wobble in the star's motion with a corresponding modulation of stellar brightness. The effect in an exoplanet context was first predicted by two CfA astronomers in 2003, Avi Loeb and Scott Gaudi, in a paper the referee claimed would never lead to practical results; the variation in the brightness is typically only a few parts per ten thousand.

The new planet has a mass about twice that of Jupiter, orbits its star every 1.5 days, and (thanks to followup observations using other observatories) has a hot atmosphere with fast moving jet-stream winds. The new result not only adds another exoplanet to the growing catalog, it demonstrates the ability of to discover and study exoplanets, and the power of very high-precision stellar monitoring.

Explore further: Astrophysicists offer new research, tool for identifying habitable zones

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User comments : 12

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beleg
1 / 5 (1) May 27, 2013
At present in safe mode:
http://www.nasa.g...515.html
vacuum-mechanics
1 / 5 (9) May 27, 2013
The new planet has a mass about twice that of Jupiter, orbits its star every 1.5 days, and (thanks to followup observations using other observatories) has a hot atmosphere with fast moving jet-stream winds. The new result not only adds another exoplanet to the growing catalog, it demonstrates the ability of relativistic effects to discover and study exoplanets, and the power of very high-precision stellar monitoring.

By the way, it is interesting to note that even we are familiar with what which was called as the 'relativistic effect', but we still could not understand how it works, maybe this physical mechanism could help it better.

http://www.vacuum...24〈=en
geokstr
2 / 5 (3) May 27, 2013
Would any earth-sized planet in the habitable zone cause a blip with this method? This is a Jupiter that orbits in 1.5 days. Both transit and wobble methods would easily detect it.

The transit method is now used to find the new exos, but it too is limited because an Earth in the habitable zone would transit only a few hours of one day each year, and only if the system was properly inclined. We will have to watch every star for years to find them using either of these methods.

I predicted long ago, when the first exo was located with wobble, that we would learn that planets are literally everywhere, in huge quantities, even rogues that formed outside of solar systems, which we have no means of finding now. I even had an email debate with a well-known astronomer who said planets are rare.

Whatever it was, if anything, that caused this universe to exist was so stupid that its vastness could never be reached because of dumb speed limits. As Ellie might say. "What a waste of space."
julianpenrod
1 / 5 (6) May 27, 2013
In fact, despite the hoopla, this proved nothing.
Phenomena mentioned in "relativity" have correlating phenomena in classical physics. Even time dilation exists in classical physics. Ole Roemer's experiment was based on it. And the diameter of a black hole can be derived from classical physics. The brightening of light, the focusing of light, all the effects claimed observed here would also be observed under classical mechanics. The only difference is in the mass of the planet supposedly causing them. If you went out there an calculated the actual mass of the planet, then it could be used to show it "relativity" or classical mechanics is involved.
This does play up an important fact. Even wrong "theories" can yield formulas that give values! Just because you get a number based on a "theory" doesn't mean that "theory" is right.
Fleetfoot
5 / 5 (2) May 28, 2013
In fact, despite the hoopla, this proved nothing.


It isn't trying to prove anything, it is a new tool for investigation.

Even time dilation exists in classical physics. Ole Roemer's experiment was based on it.


No, Roemer's test just used the finite speed of light.

And the diameter of a black hole can be derived from classical physics.


True, as you say ...

Even wrong "theories" can yield formulas that give values! Just because you get a number based on a "theory" doesn't mean that "theory" is right.


However, wrong theories don't always give the same value:

The brightening of light, the focusing of light, all the effects claimed observed here would also be observed under classical mechanics. The only difference is in the mass of the planet supposedly causing them.


Right, and we know the mass of the Sun which is how Eddington's observation's of the bending of starlight ruled out Newtonian gravity and proved GR was the correct theory.
beleg
2.3 / 5 (3) May 28, 2013
You will get responses to your last statement along the numberless variations of the following:
Eddington's observation forced the hand to play the GR theory - correct or not.
I know better. You too.
Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
3.7 / 5 (3) May 28, 2013
@geokstr: I would have liked to respond to the science and why consensus started out conservative as it is wont to do, since astrobiology interests me.

But since your analysis seems to be whoever not agrees with you is stupid, there is no point.
Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
not rated yet May 28, 2013
@julianpenrod: "Phenomena mentioned in "relativity" have correlating phenomena in classical physics."

The correspondence between relativity and classical mechanics is well known, it is the change between lorentzian reference frames and galilean, and the point is that there is no exact correlation or the change would be trivial.

For example, the universal speed limit of RM has no "correlation" in CM.

"Even wrong "theories" can yield formulas that give values! Just because you get a number based on a "theory" doesn't mean that "theory" is right."

That is rare, and you don't have to bother with that during hypothesis testing as you test against null hypotheses and not other theories. In that sense the test deliver a choice between what works and what doesn't.

Competing whole theories against each other is different. Here you want to use parsimony as a constraint to test against, as you can always improve a theory with extraneous fit variables that lowers remaining residuals in your
geokstr
1 / 5 (3) May 28, 2013
@geokstr: I would have liked to respond to the science and why consensus started out conservative as it is wont to do, since astrobiology interests me.

But since your analysis seems to be whoever not agrees with you is stupid, there is no point.

I apologize that you interpretted my comment that way. It was not intended as such.

My only reference to "stupid" had to do with the lack of intelligence of a "god" creating this universe and then writing a "dumb" speed law (Relativity) that prevents any species from ever exploring any of it.

Why you would infer this meant I think anyone other than the creationists' "god" was stupid is beyond me. Perhaps it is because it is evident from your prior comments, of which I have read many, that you and I are on opposite sides of the political spectrum, and you choose to read anything I say as unworthy of your consideration.

Unless, of course, you really are a creationist.
GSwift7
5 / 5 (2) May 28, 2013
My only reference to "stupid" had to do with the lack of intelligence of a "god" creating this universe and then writing a "dumb" speed law


lol. You'll like this bit of trivia I think: I've heard that people around the time of Gallileo would not look at Jupiter with a telescope because they thought that God wouldn't have created anything that a man couldn't see with his own eyes.

As for people challenging GR, I think you're missing the point. This is yet one more time someone has challenged GR, by saying "If GR is correct, then X should be true". Then they go look at real world data to see if they can find an example where X is observed to be true.

It may be true that more money and effort have been spent trying to disprove GR than any other single theory in history.

BTW, Eddington's experimental error was larger than the effect he was looking for, though he didn't know it at the time. Lensing wasn't actually observed properly till years later.
Q-Star
2.6 / 5 (5) May 28, 2013
It may be true that more money and effort have been spent trying to disprove GR than any other single theory in history.


That may be the truest thing anyone has ever posted here.

BTW, Eddington's experimental error was larger than the effect he was looking for, though he didn't know it at the time. Lensing wasn't actually observed properly till years later.


60 years later.

Zwicky did the maths (correctly) in the 30's. He also correctly predicted the advances in telescope technology required to make it possible. Einstein published a minor paper on it in late 30's (he called a charming concept with no practical value). Hoyle advocated developing it during the 50's (on the hope it could help confirm his steady-state model).

From Eddington ('19) until Carswell, Walsh & Weymann ('79) discovered (quite serendipitously ) that a "quasar-binary" was actually a single quasar. Much to the chagrin of the people who had "discovered" & "described" the only known quasar-binary.
baudrunner
1 / 5 (1) Jun 01, 2013
Notice that the region chosen for the Kepler Survey looks "behind" us, in the sense that the galaxy is rotating such that we are leading the target area. This must be based on the theory that when life evolves on a planet in a solar system located where we are located, it will have achieved an advanced stage of technological development. This implies that when we discover intelligent life on one of Kepler's planet candidates, it will be at an inferior stage of technological development compared to us, and ripe for exploitation and domination. We should be looking ahead of us, where we will be more likely to find evidence of advanced technologies. But ask NASA or the CIA to humble themselves?

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