Eddie Gonzales Jr. – MessageToEagle.com – An international team of astronomers confirmed the first exoplanet candidate identified by NASA’s Kepler Mission, launched almost exactly 10 years ago.
Kepler Space Telescope has discovered thousands of exoplanets using the transit method (used for detecting distant planets by measuring the dips in a star’s brightness as planets cross in front of the star).
Artist’s concept of a Kepler-1658-like system. Sound waves propagating through the stellar interior were used to characterize the star and the planet. Kepler-1658 b, orbiting with a period of just 3.8 days, was the first exoplanet candidate discovered by Kepler nearly 10 years ago. (Credit: Gabriel Perez Diaz/Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias)
Kepler-1658b, orbiting with a period of just 3.8 days, was the first exoplanet candidate discovered by Kepler nearly 10 years ago. Credit: Gabriel Perez Diaz/Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias
The very first planet candidate discovered by Kepler now known as Kepler-1658 b had a rocky road to confirmation.
The initial estimate of the size of the planet’s host star was incorrect, but it now corrected thanks to new analysis.
“Our new analysis, which uses stellar sound waves observed in the Kepler data to characterize the host star, demonstrated that the star is in fact three times larger than previously thought. This in turn means that the planet is three times larger, revealing that Kepler-1658 b is actually a hot Jupiter-like planet,” University of Hawaii graduate student Ashley Chontos, said in a press release.
With this refined analysis, everything pointed to the object truly being a planet. The existence of this planet was finally confirmed thanks to the necessary spectroscopic data delivered by Dave Latham, a senior astronomer at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, and co-author on the paper.
Kepler-1658 is 50% more massive and three times larger than the Sun. The newly confirmed planet orbits at a distance of only twice the star’s diameter, making it one of the closest-in planets around a more evolved star — one that resembles a future version of our Sun. Standing on the planet, the star would appear 60 times larger in diameter than the Sun as seen from Earth.
Planets orbiting evolved stars similar to Kepler-1658 are rare, and the reason for this absence is poorly understood. The extreme nature of the Kepler-1658 system allows astronomers to place new constraints on the complex physical interactions that can cause planets to spiral into their host stars.
Written by Eddie Gonzales Jr. – MessageToEagle.com Staff Writer