Dr. Andrej Prša: Kepler Mission Harvest of Eclipsing Binaries and Circumbinary Planets
Source: Monday physics colloquium
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Kepler Mission Harvest of Eclipsing Binaries and Circumbinary Planets
Dr. Andrej Prša, Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Villanova University, Villanova, ZDA
The primary goal of NASA's Kepler mission is to detect extrasolar planets by the transit method and estimate the frequency of Earth-like planets that orbit Sun-like stars in the habitable zone. There are currently over 2000 planet candidates, dozens Earth-sized and smaller, but none thus far in the habitable zone. At the same time, the yield of the mission in stellar astrophysics and asteroseismology is just as impressive. There are over 2500 eclipsing binaries discovered and characterized. I will review the detection methods and present both statistical results and individual gems found in the data-set.Recently, three planets have been found revolving around binary stars in circumbinary orbits: Kepler-16, Kepler-34 and Kepler-35. I will present the prime results of Kepler in the field of eclipsing binary stars, highlight the discoveries of circumbinary planets and estimate their occurrence rate throughout the Galaxy.