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Topic: NASA’s Exoplanet Science Institute at Caltech

NASA says second Star in System can make Planets look smaller

 

Written by Elizabeth Landau
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – In the search for planets similar to our own, an important point of comparison is the planet’s density. A low density tells scientists a planet is more likely to be gaseous like Jupiter, and a high density is associated with rocky planets like Earth. But a new study suggests some are less dense than previously thought because of a second, hidden star in their systems.

As telescopes stare at particular patches of sky, they can’t always differentiate between one star and two. A system of two closely orbiting stars may appear in images as a single point of light, even from sophisticated observatories such as NASA’s Kepler space telescope.

This cartoon explains why the reported sizes of some exoplanets may need to be revised in cases where there is a second star in the system. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This cartoon explains why the reported sizes of some exoplanets may need to be revised in cases where there is a second star in the system. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope data shows Hot Jupiter Planets are not always Consumed by their Stars

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Planets are pulled by the allure of their stars. Some planets, call Hot Jupiters, are gas giants that form farther from their stars before migrating inward and heating up.

Now, a new study using data from NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope shows that hot Jupiters, despite their close-in orbits, are not regularly consumed by their stars. Instead, the planets remain in fairly stable orbits for billions of years, until the day comes when they may ultimately get eaten.

Researchers using data from NASA's Kepler space telescope have shown that migrating planets stop their inward journey before reaching their stars, as illustrated in this artist's concept. Jupiter-like planets, called "hot Jupiters" are known to migrate from their star's frigid outer reaches in toward the star and its blistering heat. Dozens of hot Jupiters have been discovered orbiting closely to their stars, whipping around in just days. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Researchers using data from NASA’s Kepler space telescope have shown that migrating planets stop their inward journey before reaching their stars, as illustrated in this artist’s concept. Jupiter-like planets, called “hot Jupiters” are known to migrate from their star’s frigid outer reaches in toward the star and its blistering heat. Dozens of hot Jupiters have been discovered orbiting closely to their stars, whipping around in just days. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA reports Project 1640 explores the Atmosphere of Planets far away

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Gone are the days of being able to count the number of known planets on your fingers. Today, there are more than 800 confirmed exoplanets — planets that orbit stars beyond our sun — and more than 2,700 other candidates.

What are these exotic planets made of? Unfortunately, you cannot stack them in a jar like marbles and take a closer look. Instead, researchers are coming up with advanced techniques for probing the planets’ makeup.

This image shows the HR 8799 planets with starlight optically suppressed and data processing conducted to remove residual starlight. The star is at the center of the blackened circle in the image. The four spots indicated with the letters b through e are the planets. This is a composite image using 30 wavelengths of light and was obtained over a period of 1.25 hours on June 14th and 15th, 2012. (Image courtesy of Project 1640)

This image shows the HR 8799 planets with starlight optically suppressed and data processing conducted to remove residual starlight. The star is at the center of the blackened circle in the image. The four spots indicated with the letters b through e are the planets. This is a composite image using 30 wavelengths of light and was obtained over a period of 1.25 hours on June 14th and 15th, 2012. (Image courtesy of Project 1640)

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Study Shows Our Galaxy Has at Least 100 Billion Planets

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Our Milky Way galaxy contains a minimum of 100 billion planets, according to a detailed statistical study based on the detection of three planets located outside our solar system, called exoplanets.

The discovery reported in the January 12th issue of Nature, was made by an international team of astronomers, including co-author Stephen Kane of NASA’s Exoplanet Science Institute at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, CA.

This artist's illustration gives an impression of how common planets are around the stars in the Milky Way galaxy. The planets, their orbits, and their host stars are all vastly magnified compared to their real separations. A six- year search that surveyed millions of stars using the microlensing technique concluded that planets around stars are the rule rather than the exception. The average number of planets per star is greater than one. (Image credit: NASA/ESA/ESO)

This artist's illustration gives an impression of how common planets are around the stars in the Milky Way galaxy. The planets, their orbits, and their host stars are all vastly magnified compared to their real separations. A six- year search that surveyed millions of stars using the microlensing technique concluded that planets around stars are the rule rather than the exception. The average number of planets per star is greater than one. (Image credit: NASA/ESA/ESO)

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