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Ringing out the Old Year

31 Dec 2009, 07:17 UTC
Ringing out the Old Year
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Image by JUNe (source)
At the beginning of the year, I made five exoplanet-related predictions:
1. A 1.75 Earth Mass planet orbiting a Main Sequence star.
2. A confirmed case of transit timing variations.
3. A transiting planet in a well-characterized multiple-planet system.
4. A transiting super-Earth (or more precisely, on the basis of observed composition, a transiting sup-Neptune).
5. 417 planets listed on exoplanet.eu.
So how did I do?
Prediction 1 was just a bit on the optimistic side. At present, the extrasolar planet with the lowest Msin(i) orbiting a Main Sequence star is Gliese 581e, with Msin(i)=1.94±0.22 Earth masses. So the forecast panned out to within the 1-sigma error. (Mayor et al.’s discovery paper is here, oklo.org coverage of the discovery is here, here, and here).
Prediction 2 falls just short of unambiguous fulfillment. HAT-P-13b is clearly going to exhibit transit timing variations, and soon, but as discussed in Bakos et al.’s discovery paper, it’s not clear whether they’ve already been observed.
Prediction 3 is satisfied by HAT-P-13b and c. The characterization is so good, in fact, that we’re able to effectively look inside HAT-P-13b.
Prediction 4 was doubly satisfied. First, by CoRoT-7b (a transiting super-Earth), and second, ...

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