DEC 04, 2015 6:43 AM PST

Over Half of Kepler's Giant Exoplanets Aren't Exoplanets At All Says New Study

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

There have been a lot of discoveries made far and near in our universe by NASA’s Kepler space telescope. The discoveries included a lot of so-called ‘exoplanets,’ or planets that aren’t close enough to be considered in our own solar system because they orbit their own host star.
 
A recent study led by a researcher team from the Instituto de Astrofísica (Insistute of Astrophysics), suggests that over half of the discoveries made with the Kepler’s SOPHIE spectrograph that were thought to be distant exoplanets may actually not be. Instead, they could be some kind of eclipsing binary star system, or they could be dying brown dwarf stars that are so dim they actually come off as a type of exoplanet.
 

Not all recent discoveries by Kepler may actually be exoplanets as once thought.


From the data collected, which involved 129 samples out of 8,826 discoveries, 52.3% of them were eclipsing binary star systems, in which the shadows from the eclipsing would appear to be some kind of planet orbiting a host star, and 2.3% of them were brown dwarfs, or dying stars too dim to be distinguished between a reflective planet or a dying star.
 
“Detecting and characterizing planets is usually a very subtle and difficult task,” said Vardan Adibekyan, one of the researchers involved in the study. “In this work, we showed that even big, easy to detect planets are also difficult to deal with. In particular, it was shown that less than half of the detected big transiting planet candidates are actually there. The rest are false positives, due to different kind of astrophysical sources of light or noise.”
 
Because things can appear not as they seem from a first glance, going back later and looking at it a second time with additional equipment is necessary to help scientists learn what they’re really looking at. This might include spectroscopic follow-up observations after the initial discovery.
 
The research also helped shed some light on gassy exoplanets, suggesting that the gasses surrounding the solid core may not really be as heavily expanded as originally thought.

Source: Instituto de Astrofísica

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
NOV 10, 2019
Space & Astronomy
NOV 10, 2019
Starlink Aims to Provide Cutting-Edge Worldwide Internet Access
Almost everyone has heard by now that Elon Musk wants to launch well over 40,000 new satellites into space to deliver high-speed and low-latency internet t...
NOV 19, 2019
Space & Astronomy
NOV 19, 2019
Apollo 12 - A Dramatic Journey Led by the Desire to Explore
On November 19th, the Apollo 12 astronauts, Pete Conrad and Alan Bean, became, respectively, the third and the fourth men to ever walk on the Moon’s...
DEC 31, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 31, 2019
Why Does This Star Dim Unpredictably?
KIC 8462852, also known as Tabby’s Star or the infamous ‘alien megastructure star,’ is peculiar because the star’s light seems to d...
JAN 05, 2020
Space & Astronomy
JAN 05, 2020
Is Betelgeuse on the Verge of Going Supernova?
There’s been a lot of discussion happening as of late with respect to the Orion constellation’s red supergiant star Betelgeuse. Being one of th...
JAN 26, 2020
Space & Astronomy
JAN 26, 2020
How Much Do You Know About the Planet Mercury?
Mercury is the solar system’s smallest planet, and it’s also the one residing closest to the Sun. But while Mercury is commonly shrugged off as...
FEB 02, 2020
Space & Astronomy
FEB 02, 2020
Everything You Need to Know About Solar Orbiter
The Sun is something you see every day when you look up at the daytime sky, but despite residing right in plain sight, there’s still so much about th...
Loading Comments...