Sunday, April 24, 2011

News flash in planetland

kw: citizen science, astronomy, extrasolar planets

OK, here is what planetary transits look like for a very quiet star, a small (~K6) star that does not pulsate or flare as so many of these do. The orbital period is just over ten days, so the planet is close in. It just appeared in my list of "Candidates".

By my calculations, from the amount of light it eclipses, the planet's diameter is 45,000 km, or just over 3.5 times the diameter of Earth. This makes it just a bit smaller than Neptune.

I didn't observe it on the day of discovery, but a few days later. There is one other star for which I am named (along with a dozen others) as having observed it the first day. This is the luck of the draw; the Planet Hunter team's software parcels out light curves randomly to whoever is logged in.

No comments: