A planet the size of Mars has been discovered orbiting the host star at a distance of less than 10 hours. »Brinkwire

A planet the size of Mars has been discovered orbiting the host star at a distance of less than 10 hours.

The Penn State Habitable Zone Planet Finder (HPF) was used to confirm the planetary nature of an object the size of an orbit extremely close to an M dwarf star.

The planet is about half the size of Earth and orbits its host star in less than ten hours, despite being originally classified as a false positive in an automated search for data collected by the Kepler Space Telescope.

It is the smallest planet with an ultra-short period known, and it can help astronomers understand how these rare planets form if it orbited a star the size of our sun. It would be to skim the star’s corona – the extremely hot aura that extends beyond the star’s surface!

A paper describing the discovery was published online and has been accepted for publication in The Astronomical Journal by a team of researchers led by Penn State researchers.

“Ultra-short-term planets – planets with orbital periods of less than one day – are extremely rare,” said Caleb Caas, the paper’s lead author and a graduate student in astronomy and astrophysics at Penn State.

“Only a handful of M dwarf stars, which are small, cool stars, a fraction of the size and brightness of our sun, have been discovered in orbit around them.

We do not yet know how these planets are formed, so discoveries like these are crucial in limiting possible formation scenarios. “

By observing stars in a large area of ​​the galaxy, the Kepler Space Telescope searched for exoplanets (planets that are not in our solar system).

It was looking for small drops in the star’s brightness that could indicate that a candidate planet passing in front of the star during its orbit was blocking some of the star’s light.

The length of the brightness drop indicates the distance between the candidate planet and the host star, as well as whether the planet is habitable.

These brightness drops, known as transits, will then be screened by an automated system of possible false positives.

The M dwarf star KOI-4777 exhibited such a decrease in brightness, but it was so short that automated control initially ruled it out as a false positive.

Eric Feigelson, Distinguished Senior Scholar and Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics and Statistics at Penn State, and his team of astrostat statisticians independently discovered this planet in the Kepler dataset during its correct period using a new statistical analysis technique they developed …

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