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Five exoplanets discovered by Kepler - a discussion and a movie

14 Jan 2010, 18:53 UTC
Five exoplanets discovered by Kepler - a discussion and a movie
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I mentioned on this blog on several occasions (see “the first light“) the Kepler mission which aims at detecting exoplanets through the transit method (a.k.a the small attenuation of light due to the passage of the exoplanet between us and the host star). Last week, during the AAS (say “double ‘A’ ‘S’”) conference, the Kepler team announced the discovery of the first 5 exoplanets.You may remember that shortly after its first light, the Kepler team published an exquisite lightcurve of a known exoplanet transit called HAT-P-7b. This exoplanet was discovered from the ground by the HATnet survey and was reported by A. Pal in 2008 (see ApJ paper here). It orbits in 2.2 days around a star in the Cygnus constellation which is 1,000 light-years away from us. From the depth and shape of the occultation the Kepler team estimated that the temperature of the planet is ~3000 deg C (because of its proximity with its host star). This remarkable result which was published in Science, confirmed that Kepler had the capabilities to detect Earth-like planets because of the achieved photometric quality.
Beginning of January at the AAS conference, the Kepler team announced the discovery of the first exoplanets “poetically” ...

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