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Beyond Earthly Skies

Einstein’s Planet

23 Sep 2013, 10:00 UTC
Einstein’s Planet David A. Aguilar (CfA)
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Kepler-76b, also known as “Einstein’s planet”, is a hot-Jupiter with twice the mass of Jupiter and orbits its parent star every 1.54 days. Its diameter is 25 percent larger than Jupiter’s. Kepler-76b is tidally locked to its parent star, which means it always presents the same side towards its parent star. As a result, the dayside of Kepler-76b blazes with an estimated temperature as high as 2250 K.Kepler-76b is the first hot-Jupiter detected by the BEER algorithm - which stands for the relativistic Beaming, Ellipsoidal and Refletion/emission algorithm. The discovery of Kepler-76b was subsequently confirmed by follow-on spectroscopic observations. The BEER algorithm looks for three small effects that occur simultaneously as a planet orbits its star. These three effects are in addition to the dimming of a star as a planet transits in front and the radial velocity wobbling of a star due to gravitational tugging by an orbiting planet. Figure 1: Artist’s impression of Kepler-76b transiting its parent star. Credit: David A. Aguilar (CfA)Figure 2: Light curve of the Kepler-76 system. Phase zero is when the planet Kepler-76b is closest to the observer, while phase 0.5 is when its parent star is closest to the observer, assuming a circular ...

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