Astronomers have discovered at least three small stars that pretend to be exoplanets, according to new research.
Three, and possibly four, stars discovered by NASA kepler space telescope. At that time, they were classified as outer planets. However, a new study suggests that their original classification could be a case of misidentification, according to a permit from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where most researchers are based.
Scientists have reconsidered the measurements of the host planet stars To check the size of the candidate exoplanets. This revealed three suspect objects – known as Kepler-854b, Kepler-840b and Kepler-699b – that are between two and four times the size of Jupiter, which is too big to be a planet. Instead, the researchers argue, they should be classified as small stars.
“Most of the exoplanets The size of Jupiter or much smaller. twice [the size of] Jupiter is indeed suspect, said Prajwal Niraula, lead author of the study and a graduate student in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at MIT. “There can be no planet bigger than this, and that’s what we found. ”
The fourth disguised star, known as Kepler-747b, is about 1.8 times the size of Jupiter, which is comparable to the largest confirmed exoplanet. However, Kepler-747b is located relatively far from its star, which means that it probably does not receive enough light to sustain itself as a planet of this size. While this does not definitively rule out Kepler 747b as an exoplanet, researchers are concerned about its existence. planet classification.
“Overall, this study makes the current list of planets more complete,” study co-author Avi Shporer, a researcher at MIT’s Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research, said in the statement. “People rely on this list to study the number of planets as a whole. If you are using a sample with a few alien planets, your results may be inaccurate. So it is important that the list of planets is not polluted.”
The true identities of these stars have been revealed as part of a larger effort to identify signs of tidal distortion in exoplanet systems. Gravity between two objects can affect the shapes of the two objects. When two objects come close to each other, the gravitational force of each extends into an egg or oval shape.
The amount of distortion is determined by the mass of the accompanying body. Therefore, researchers can determine if they are looking at a file binary star system Or a star-planet system based on the observed tidal force, according to the statement.
And when the scientists looked at the latest data for Kepler-854b, the researchers found that the elliptical signal was too large to be caused by a planet. Since the size of exoplanets is estimated by comparing them to the size of the star they orbit, the scientists decided to examine the data collected by the European Space Agency’s Star Mapping mission, Jaya.
Indeed, data from Gaia indicates that the star Kepler-854 is much larger than scientists realized when a possible exoplanet was discovered. By recalculation, the researchers determined that Kepler-854b is three times larger than Jupiter. This indicates that Kepler-854b is a small star orbiting a larger host star, not an exoplanet.
Improved Gaia measurements have prompted researchers to recalculate the sizes of other exoplanets thought to orbit stars whose size estimates have changed dramatically.
“It was a very big science,” Niraula said in the statement. “Now we have three bodies that are no longer planets, and the fourth is probably not a planet.”
Although scientists have identified nearly 5,000 exoplanets so far, the team does not expect further corrections to their current exoplanet catalogs, according to the statement.
“It’s a small correction,” said Sporer. “It comes from understanding the stars better, which is only getting better all the time. So the odds that the star’s radius is incorrect are much lower. These misclassifications won’t happen very often. more.”
The conclusions were Posted on March 15 In the Astronomical Journal.
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