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What’s that coming over the disk?

24 Aug 2017, 12:30 UTC
What’s that coming over the disk?
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Title: Likely transiting exocomets detected by KeplerAuthors: S.Rappaport et al.First Author’s Institution: Department of Physics and Kavli Institute of Astrophysics and Space Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139Status: Submitted to MNRAS [open access]Since their discovery in 1992, our catalogue of planets in other solar systems has grown to an astonishing 3,506 exoplanets. Thanks to great advances in both space and ground-based observatories, parallels to our own solar system are being uncovered at an ever-increasing rate. Despite this, we are still struggling to find evidence of minor bodies like moons, asteroids, and comets around other stars.Figure 1: An image of Comet Hale Bopp – observed from Earth. A comet has two tails clearly visible here: a blue ion tail which always travels away from the Sun and a dusty tail of debris left behind as the comet travels. Image credit: Dan SchechterToday’s bite explores the first likely Kepler detection of something that may have played a role in the formation of life here on Earth – an exocomet!
The path to odd dataFor the last 8 years, Kepler has stared at the stars and exoplanets have waved back, producing an ever increasing directory of stellar brightness as a function ...

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