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Planet Candidates Re-Identified as Low-Mass Stars

23 Jun 2016, 22:00 UTC
Planet Candidates Re-Identified as Low-Mass Stars
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Figure: Artist’s impression of a binary star system.KOI-554.01, KOI-1074.01 and KOI-3728.01 are three transiting planet candidates detected by NASA's Kepler space telescope. More careful analysis of the data show that these three transiting planet candidates are actually false positive and should instead be classified as secondary components of binary star systems. Modulations detected in the out-of-transit region of the light curves of the host stars of KOI-554.01, KOI-1074.01 and KOI-3728.01 indicate that these three transiting planet candidates too massive to be planets. These modulations are comprised of three components. (1) Ellipsoidal variations are caused by tides raised on the host star by the gravitational pull of the companion object, causing the host star to stretch into an ellipsoidal shape. (2) The companion object reflects light from its host star and also gives off its own thermal emission. (3) The gravitational tugging on the host star by the companion object causes Doppler beaming whereby the host star brightens slightly with it is approaching the observer and dims slightly when it is receding away. These three effects are collectively called REB modulations and they modulate the light curve of the host star depending on the position of the companion object in its ...

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