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A Brown Dwarf on an Eccentric Orbit

11 Sep 2013, 13:56 UTC
A Brown Dwarf on an Eccentric Orbit
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Moutou et al. (2013) report the discovery of a long orbital period, highly eccentric transiting brown dwarf around a slightly evolved Sun-like star. This brown dwarf is identified as KOI-415 b and it was observed to transit 7 times in front of its host star by NASA’s Kepler space telescope over a period of 14 quarters. The transit of KOI-415 b has a period of 166.8 days, depth of 0.5 percent and duration of 6 hours. Transiting brown dwarfs are much less common than transiting giant planets and above 20 Jupiter-masses, only a handful of such objects are known.Figure 1: Artist’s conception of a brown dwarf / gas giant. Figure 2: Top panel: phase-folded transit light curve of KOI-415 b. Bottom panel: the residuals between the observations and the best-fit model. (Moutou et al., 2013)By measuring how much light from its host star gets blocked as KOI-415 b transits in front, the size of KOI-415 b is determined to be 0.79 times the diameter of Jupiter. As for the mass of KOI-415 b, it is determined by measuring the amount of gravitational tugging the brown dwarf exerts on its host star. The gravitational tugging from KOI-415 b causes its host ...

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