Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Bright star reveals new Neptune-size exoplanet

Date:
January 22, 2014
Source:
Aarhus University
Summary:
A team of astronomers has discovered a new exoplanet, christened Kepler-410A b. The planet is about the size of Neptune and orbits the brightest star in a double star system 425 light years from Earth.

This is an artist impression of the star Kepler-410A. The black dot represents the planet Kepler-410A b, as it moves in front of the star, blocking a small part of the star light and thereby allowing it to be indirectly detected. The stellar companion Kepler-410B is about 10,000 times further away from the planet and is not shown on the image.
Credit: Vincent Van Eylen

An international team of astronomers at Stellar Astrophysics Centre in Aarhus, Denmark, has discovered a new exoplanet, christened Kepler-410A b. The planet is about the size of Neptune and orbits the brightest star in a double star system 425 light years from Earth.

By studying the star around which the planet revolves, they found that the star's rotation appears to be well-aligned with the planetary movement. The object can be well-studied because the star is relatively bright, it can be seen if strong binoculars are used. The planet orbits one star of what appears to be a binary star, and the orbit is not circular but slightly eccentric. The planet is a bit larger than our Earth, with a radius of about 2.8 times that of our planet. With a period of around 18 days, it is much closer to its star than Earth is to our sun, and therefore unlikely to be suitable for life due to its high temperature. Perturbations on the discovered planet indicate that there is likely another, as of yet unknown planet in the system.

After the first discovery of the first exoplanet (a planet around which doesn't orbit our Sun, but another star), the number of planets has increased up to around 1000 currently known exoplanets. Kepler-410A b is interesting because it can be studied in detail. It has been observed for four years with the Kepler space telescope, a NASA satellite which has monitored the brightness of more than 150,000 stars simultaneously, to look for small regularly-recurring dips in the light, which are indicative of the presence of an exoplanet.

The exquisite quality of the Kepler data has allowed a very detailed study of the host star. On top of that, the star is rather bright; it is in fact the third brightest exoplanet host star discovered by Kepler. This has allowed the team to study tiny variations in the stellar brightness caused by stellar pulsations, a technique which is called asteroseismology. Thereby they have been able to measure stellar properties such as its mass and radius to an accuracy of a few percent.

"Ultimately, to understand anything about exoplanets, we need to understand the stars they revolve around. In this case, asteroseismology has even allowed us to measure the inclination angle of the star. We now know we are looking at the equator of the star, not at the pole. This can be compared with the orbit of the planet to learn about planetary formation. The star is around 2.7 giga-years old and is a little larger than the Sun. We will never be able to go there, as it is located at around 425 lightyears from Earth," says lead author Vincent Van Eylen.

Because of the brightness of the star, it is a suitable target for further observations. The team has accurately measured the times of transit and found it doesn't cross the star exactly every 17.8 days, but is slightly perturbed: the planet is sometimes up to 15 minutes late or early. These perturbations indicate that there could be another planet present, slightly pulling or pushing Kepler-410A b around.

"We are confident that there is another planet, but because it doesn't move in front of the star, we don't yet know what it is like," says Vincent Van Eylen.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Aarhus University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. V. Van Eylen, M. N. Lund, V. Silva Aguirre, T. Arentoft, H. Kjeldsen, S. Albrecht, W. J. Chaplin, H. Isaacson, M. G. Pedersen, J. Jessen-Hansen, B. Tingley, J. Christensen-Dalsgaard, C. Aerts, T. L. Campante, S. T. Bryson. WHAT ASTEROSEISMOLOGY CAN DO FOR EXOPLANETS: KEPLER-410A b IS A SMALL NEPTUNE AROUND A BRIGHT STAR, IN AN ECCENTRIC ORBIT CONSISTENT WITH LOW OBLIQUITY. The Astrophysical Journal, 2014; 782 (1): 14 DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/782/1/14

Cite This Page:

Aarhus University. "Bright star reveals new Neptune-size exoplanet." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 January 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140122134022.htm>.
Aarhus University. (2014, January 22). Bright star reveals new Neptune-size exoplanet. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140122134022.htm
Aarhus University. "Bright star reveals new Neptune-size exoplanet." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140122134022.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Space & Time News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan

Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan

AP (July 23, 2014) The Progress 56 cargo ship launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan Wednesday. NASA says it will deliver cargo and crew supplies to the International Space Station. (July 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks from Space Station

Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks from Space Station

AP (July 22, 2014) A Russian Soyuz cargo-carrying spacecraft undocked from the International Space Station on Monday. The craft is due to undergo about ten days of engineering tests before it burns up in the Earth's atmosphere. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong

NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong

AP (July 21, 2014) NASA honored one of its most famous astronauts Monday by renaming a historic building at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It now bears the name of Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Neil Armstrong's Post-Apollo 11 Life

Neil Armstrong's Post-Apollo 11 Life

Newsy (July 19, 2014) Neil Armstrong gained international fame after becoming the first man to walk on the moon in 1969. But what was his life like after the historic trip? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins