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TRAPPIST-1h: Drawing on K2 Data

14 Mar 2017, 15:55 UTC
TRAPPIST-1h: Drawing on K2 Data
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

The data recently made available from Campaign 12 of K2 (the Kepler spacecraft’s two-reaction wheel mission) is already paying off in the form of information about the outermost planet in the TRAPPIST-1 system. Campaign 12 (described in Kepler Data on TRAPPIST-1 Coming Online) began on December 15 of 2016 and ran until March 4 of this year, though the spacecraft was in safe mode for a time, producing a 5-day data loss.
An international team including lead author Rodrigo Luger (University of Washington) and TRAPPIST-1 planet discoverer Michaël Gillon (Université de Liège) used the K2 data to constrain the period of TRAPPIST-1h, the outermost planet in this seven-planet system, which had only been observed to transit once before now. The team was also looking for additional planets (none were found) and, of course, examining resonances with the inner worlds.
The result: The orbital period of TRAPPIST-1h is found to be 18.764 days, a figure that fits into the pattern of resonance that the team’s theoretical work had predicted. TRAPPIST-1h is thus “…the seventh member of a complex chain, with three-body resonances linking every member.” The paper goes on to tell us that the planet has a radius of 0.715 R⊕, ...

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