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Kepler's K2 Mission Going Strong With Another 95 New Exoplanets Confirmed

Accepted submission by takyon at 2018-02-16 05:57:28
Science

Data from the Kepler spacecraft's extended mission has been used to confirm 95 new exoplanet discoveries [sciencedaily.com]:

"We started out analyzing 275 candidates of which 149 were validated as real exoplanets. In turn 95 of these planets have proved to be new discoveries," said American PhD student Andrew Mayo at the National Space Institute (DTU Space) at the Technical University of Denmark.

[...] The Kepler spacecraft was launched in 2009 to hunt for exoplanets in a single patch of sky, but in 2013 a mechanical failure crippled the telescope. However, astronomers and engineers devised a way to repurpose and save the space telescope by changing its field of view periodically. This solution paved the way for the follow up K2 mission, which is still ongoing as the spacecraft searches for exoplanet transits.

[...] One of the planets detected was orbiting a very bright star. "We validated a planet on a 10 day orbit around a star called HD 212657, which is now the brightest star found by either the Kepler or K2 missions to host a validated planet. Planets around bright stars are important because astronomers can learn a lot about them from ground-based observatories," said Mayo.

275 candidates and 149 validated planets orbiting bright stars in K2 campaigns 0-10 [alphagalileo.org] (open, DOI: 10.3847/1538-3881/aaadff) (DX [doi.org])

This work, in addition to increasing the population of validated K2 planets by more than 50% and providing new targets for follow-up observations, will also serve as a framework for validating candidates from upcoming K2 campaigns and the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), expected to launch in 2018.


Original Submission