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posted by takyon on Thursday December 14 2017, @06:38PM   Printer-friendly
from the where's-planet-nine? dept.

Google's research team Google AI has applied machine learning to data from NASA's Kepler space observatory, finding an 8th exoplanet orbiting Kepler-90 (2,545 ly away). The team also found a sixth exoplanet orbiting Kepler-80 (1,100 ly away):

Our solar system now is tied for most number of planets around a single star, with the recent discovery of an eighth planet circling Kepler-90, a Sun-like star 2,545 light years from Earth. The planet was discovered in data from NASA's Kepler Space Telescope.

The newly-discovered Kepler-90i – a sizzling hot, rocky planet that orbits its star once every 14.4 days – was found using machine learning from Google. Machine learning is an approach to artificial intelligence in which computers "learn." In this case, computers learned to identify planets by finding in Kepler data instances where the telescope recorded signals from planets beyond our solar system, known as exoplanets.

[...] Kepler-90i wasn't the only jewel this neural network sifted out. In the Kepler-80 system, they found a sixth planet. This one, the Earth-sized Kepler-80g, and four of its neighboring planets form what is called a resonant chain – where planets are locked by their mutual gravity in a rhythmic orbital dance. The result is an extremely stable system, similar to the seven planets in the TRAPPIST-1 system.

Their research paper reporting these findings has been accepted for publication in The Astronomical Journal. [Christopher] Shallue and [Andrew] Vanderburg plan to apply their neural network to Kepler's full set of more than 150,000 stars.

The size of Kepler-90i is estimated at 1.32 ± 0.21 Earth radii. Surface temperature is estimated at 435°C (709 K).

Kepler-80g is likely smaller at 1.13 ± 0.14 Earth radii, with a cooler surface temperature of 144°C (418 K).

The outermost known exoplanet in the Kepler-90 system, Kepler-90h, has a mass under 1.2 Jupiter masses and a temperature of around 292 K (19 °C; 66 °F), so it may be a good candidate for hosting life on a moon.

NASA will host a Reddit AMA at 3 PM EST to discuss the findings.

Also at University of Texas at Austin.

Related: Seven Earth-Sized Exoplanets, Including Three Potentially Habitable, Identified Around TRAPPIST-1

Previously: Google and NASA to Reveal Mysterious New Space Find

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  • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Thursday December 14 2017, @07:17PM (2 children)

    by Grishnakh (2831) on Thursday December 14 2017, @07:17PM (#609820)

    Surface temperature is estimated at 435°C (709 K).

    Bugger! Not Earthlike.

    Nope, it's Venuslike. It sounds just like Venus, just a little bit more massive.

    It could still have aliens living there in cloud cities...

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  • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Thursday December 14 2017, @07:23PM (1 child)

    by bob_super (1357) on Thursday December 14 2017, @07:23PM (#609822)

    Since we don't know yet which planet has an atmosphere and what those are made of, a lot more Earthlikes might turn out to be Venuslikes.
    And some Marslikes might be Earthlikes.
    Those estimates are purely based on star brightness/distance.
    As we see here, a few degrees can change a planet a lot.

    • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Thursday December 14 2017, @09:23PM

      by Grishnakh (2831) on Thursday December 14 2017, @09:23PM (#609881)

      Well yeah, it doesn't take much for a planet to go from warm enough to support life like ours, to just a little too cold for it to really get anywhere (remember Hoth in Star Wars? There's no way significant life like taun-tauns would have evolved there, unless the planet used to be warmer).

      But when we can tell with somewhat reasonable accuracy that a planet is 400+C, then it's not going to be anything at all like Earth, and a lot more like Venus. That's hot enough to melt lead; no biological life like Earth's can survive there.