NASA announced the discovery, which was also detailed in a paper in this week’s edition of Science Express, today.
The Kepler spacecraft, launched to seek Earth-like planets around sun-like stars, has so far identified more than 700 planet candidates that pass in front of or “transit” their stars.
Using traditional methods, extensive follow-up observations would be required to confirm that the candidates are, in fact, planets, according to the Science Express paper. The astronomers who made the discovery used a new method of confirming planets called the transit timing variation method, said Eric Ford, a UF assistant professor of astronomy and the fourth author of the Science Express paper.
“Using transit timing variations, astronomers have a new tool for confirming some planetary systems much more efficiently than before,” Ford said. “The discovery also represents the first time that astronomers have discovered more than one planet transiting the same star.”
He added, “There are dozens and dozens where one planet transits the star, and there are some other systems where you have multiple planets, but they don’t both transit the same star. This system provides new opportunities for testing models of planet formation.”
He said the indications of the third planet remain only that, but that if it is confirmed, it would be the planet with the smallest radius yet measured outside our solar system.
However, he said, the possible planet would not be in the “habitable zone,” where conditions would allow for liquid water, an essential ingredient for life on Earth. Instead, the planet candidate would be far closer to its star, and very hot as a result. If it is a planet, then its surface temperature likely exceeds 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit, he said.
The UF team consisted of Ford, astronomy postdoctoral associate Althea Moorhead and astronomy graduate student Robert Morehead. Kepler is NASA’s 10th Discovery mission.Writer
Eric Ford | EurekAlert!
Mars 2020 mission to use smart methods to seek signs of past life
17.08.2017 | Goldschmidt Conference
Gold shines through properties of nano biosensors
17.08.2017 | American Institute of Physics
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
17.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
17.08.2017 | Earth Sciences
17.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy