Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

San Francisco State University astronomer helps discover giant planet orbiting 2 suns

14.06.2016

Kepler-1647b has largest size, orbit of any circumbinary planet found to date

San Francisco State University astronomer Stephen Kane is among a team of researchers who have discovered a new planet that orbits two suns simultaneously. The discovery was announced today at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society in San Diego.


This is an artist's rendering of the planet Kepler-1647b.

Credit: Lynette Cook

With a mass and radius nearly identical to that of Jupiter, the planet, Kepler-1647b, is the largest circumbinary planet -- a planet that orbits two stars -- ever discovered. Located in the direction of the constellation Cygnus, Kepler-1647b is 3,700 light-years away from Earth and approximately 4.4 billion years old, roughly Earth's age. The stars it orbits are similar in size to our Sun, and it also has the largest orbit of any circumbinary planet ever found, taking roughly three Earth-years to orbit its host stars.

The team that discovered the new planet used data from the Kepler telescope and includes astronomers from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and San Diego State University. Laurance Doyle, an astronomer at the SETI Institute, first noticed its transit past the suns in 2011, however more data and several years of analysis were needed to confirm the transit was caused by a circumbinary planet.

Kane, an associate professor of astrophysics at SF State and co-author of the discovery paper, currently serves as chair of the Kepler Habitable Zone Working Group. "During the lifetime of the Kepler Mission, we've only had a handful of opportunities to see the moments when this planet could align and block out the light from both stars, so the fact that we've found anything at all is pretty amazing," Kane said. "We weren't expecting to find anything like [Kepler-1647b], with such a long orbital period because those kinds of planets tend to fall through the cracks, but when we saw more than one transit and realized that this is the real deal, it was very exciting discovery to make."

Though Kane says Kepler-1647b's massive orbit places the planet within the "habitable zone" of its stars, meaning its proximity to its suns is fitting for liquid water to exist on the planetary body's surface, it is believed that the planet is a gas giant and unfit to support life. "It's as if you took Jupiter and placed it in Earth's orbit," Kane explained.

Kane and a student assistant have already begun working on calculations to try and estimate the possibility and frequency of moons orbiting giant planets like Kepler-1647b to see how likely it could be for one of those moons to not only exist, but be capable of supporting life as well. "You really have to be Johnny-on-the-spot with these types of experiments to have a chance of making significant finds," Kane said. "Hopefully [finding Kepler-1647b] is a sign of many more of these kinds of discoveries to come."

The research for this planetary discovery has been accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal with Veselin Kostov, a NASA Goddard postdoctoral fellow, as lead author.

Media Contact

Pete Melkus
melkuspe@sfsu.edu
415-338-6745

 @SFSU

http://www.sfsu.edu 

Pete Melkus | EurekAlert!

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Black phosphorus-based van der Waals heterostructures for mid-infrared light-emission applications
13.07.2020 | Light Publishing Center, Changchun Institute of Optics, Fine Mechanics And Physics, Chinese Academy

nachricht Robust high-performance data storage through magnetic anisotropy
13.07.2020 | Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Electron cryo-microscopy: Using inexpensive technology to produce high-resolution images

Biochemists at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) have used a standard electron cryo-microscope to achieve surprisingly good images that are on par with those taken by far more sophisticated equipment. They have succeeded in determining the structure of ferritin almost at the atomic level. Their results were published in the journal "PLOS ONE".

Electron cryo-microscopy has become increasingly important in recent years, especially in shedding light on protein structures. The developers of the new...

Im Focus: The spin state story: Observation of the quantum spin liquid state in novel material

New insight into the spin behavior in an exotic state of matter puts us closer to next-generation spintronic devices

Aside from the deep understanding of the natural world that quantum physics theory offers, scientists worldwide are working tirelessly to bring forth a...

Im Focus: Excitation of robust materials

Kiel physics team observed extremely fast electronic changes in real time in a special material class

In physics, they are currently the subject of intensive research; in electronics, they could enable completely new functions. So-called topological materials...

Im Focus: Electrons in the fast lane

Solar cells based on perovskite compounds could soon make electricity generation from sunlight even more efficient and cheaper. The laboratory efficiency of these perovskite solar cells already exceeds that of the well-known silicon solar cells. An international team led by Stefan Weber from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz has found microscopic structures in perovskite crystals that can guide the charge transport in the solar cell. Clever alignment of these "electron highways" could make perovskite solar cells even more powerful.

Solar cells convert sunlight into electricity. During this process, the electrons of the material inside the cell absorb the energy of the light....

Im Focus: The lightest electromagnetic shielding material in the world

Empa researchers have succeeded in applying aerogels to microelectronics: Aerogels based on cellulose nanofibers can effectively shield electromagnetic radiation over a wide frequency range – and they are unrivalled in terms of weight.

Electric motors and electronic devices generate electromagnetic fields that sometimes have to be shielded in order not to affect neighboring electronic...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Contact Tracing Apps against COVID-19: German National Academy Leopoldina hosts international virtual panel discussion

07.07.2020 | Event News

International conference QuApps shows status quo of quantum technology

02.07.2020 | Event News

Dresden Nexus Conference 2020: Same Time, Virtual Format, Registration Opened

19.05.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

Black phosphorus-based van der Waals heterostructures for mid-infrared light-emission applications

13.07.2020 | Physics and Astronomy

Polarization of Br2 molecule in vanadium oxide cluster cavity and new alkane bromination

13.07.2020 | Life Sciences

Researchers present concept for a new technique to study superheavy elements

13.07.2020 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>