The transit light curve gives an astronomer a wealth of information about the transiting planet as well as the star. It is only for transiting exoplanets that astronomers have been able to get direct estimates of the exoplanet mass and radius. With these parameters at hand astronomers are able to set the most fundamental constraints on models which reveal the physical nature of the exoplanet, such as its average density and surface gravity. As mentioned above the transit events do not just give information about the exoplanet, but quite often also information about the star. With telescopes capable of high precision photometry, transit curve anomalies can say something about the activity of the star. An example of this is when an exoplanet crosses star spots (Fig. 2) [source]. This can be seen in the light curve as a small increase in flux due to the light of a cooler part of the star being blocked out.
With a very high precision light curve with a high Signal to Noise (S/N), the light curve can also be used to infer the presence of other planets in the system. Perturbations in the timing of exoplanet transits may be used to infer the presence of satellites or additional planetary companions [source,source].
Credit: Paul Anthony Wilson
Holy procrastination Batman
I want to make more space-related art and take less space-related exams.
Good morning! China’s rover on the way to the Moon, India’s satellite on the way to Mars. So much for us all to learn.
Moon and Venus imaged by the Clementine spacecraft in January of 1994
The Flying Bat and Squid Nebulae in HaOIIIRGB
Image Credit: Scott Rosen
Solar System Like Ours Discovered
Hidden in the huge amount of data gathered by the Kepler Telescope was the observation of a solar system a bit like our own, it consists of seven exoplanets arranged much like our own - rocky close in to the sun and gas giants further out. The system, KOI-351, was detected in early 2013 with three direct observations of planets with orbital periods of 59, 210 and 331 days. However, their orbital periods can vary by as much as 25.7 hours, which at first glance is a little strange. As all of the planets orbit within 1 astronomical unit (the distance of the Sun from the Earth) this variation was suspected to be due to tugs of as of yet unseen inner planets.
Using computer algorithms a team of scientists was able to detect four new planets in the system, bringing the total to seven. The four planets have orbital periods of 7, 9, 92 and 125 days thus making the system very compact. It is as of yet unknown why the system formed this way, and some scientists hypothesise that the system may be young and the planets may migrate outwards over the millions of years to come. It is hoped that an upcoming mission, PLATO, will receive funding and allow the scientists to have a second more detailed look at the system.
Space Thor made a space friend!
Also my contact lenses have been delayed or something so I had to choose between going out looking like a nerd or not being able to see. I sacrificed my eyesight.
It’s nice to put them back on hah.
I like space-themed art, but I also like space-themed music! And pretty much space-anything.
Scenes from the bottom of the world, aka Antarctica.
Look at that sky!
I’ve always dreamt of going there one day.