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Title: Kepler-1649b: An Exo-Venus in the Solar Neighborhood

Abstract

The Kepler mission has revealed that Earth-sized planets are common, and dozens have been discovered to orbit in or near their host star’s habitable zone. A major focus in astronomy is to determine which of these exoplanets are likely to have Earth-like properties that are amenable to follow-up with both ground- and future space-based surveys, with an ultimate goal of probing their atmospheres to look for signs of life. Venus-like atmospheres will be of particular interest in these surveys. While Earth and Venus evolved to have similar sizes and densities, it remains unclear what factors led to the dramatic divergence of their atmospheres. Studying analogs to both Earth and Venus can thus shed light on the limits of habitability and the potential for life on known exoplanets. Here, we present the discovery and confirmation of Kepler-1649b, an Earth-sized planet orbiting a nearby M5V star that receives incident flux at a level similar to that of Venus. We present our methods for characterizing the star, using a combination of point-spread function photometry, ground-based spectroscopy, and imaging, to confirm the planetary nature of Kepler-1649b. Planets like Kepler-1649b will be prime candidates for atmospheric and habitability studies in the next generation of spacemore » missions.« less

Authors:
; ;  [1]; ; ; ;  [2];  [3];  [4];  [5];  [6]
  1. SETI Institute, Mountain View, CA 94043 (United States)
  2. NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA 94035 (United States)
  3. Bay Area Environmental Research Institute, 625 2nd Street, Suite 209, Petaluma, CA 94952 (United States)
  4. Department of Astronomy, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712 (United States)
  5. NASA Exoplanet Science Institute/Caltech, Pasadena, CA (United States)
  6. Department of Physics and Astronomy, San Francisco State University, 1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94132 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22663715
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astronomical Journal (Online); Journal Volume: 153; Journal Issue: 4; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; ASTRONOMY; ATMOSPHERES; DENSITY; ORBITS; PHOTOMETRY; PROBES; SATELLITES; SPACE; SPECTROSCOPY; STARS; VENUS PLANET; VISIBLE RADIATION

Citation Formats

Angelo, Isabel, Rowe, Jason F., Huber, Daniel, Howell, Steve B., Quintana, Elisa V., Burningham, Ben, Barclay, Thomas, Still, Martin, Mann, Andrew W., Ciardi, David R., and Kane, Stephen R., E-mail: isabelangelo@berkeley.edu. Kepler-1649b: An Exo-Venus in the Solar Neighborhood. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.3847/1538-3881/AA615F.
Angelo, Isabel, Rowe, Jason F., Huber, Daniel, Howell, Steve B., Quintana, Elisa V., Burningham, Ben, Barclay, Thomas, Still, Martin, Mann, Andrew W., Ciardi, David R., & Kane, Stephen R., E-mail: isabelangelo@berkeley.edu. Kepler-1649b: An Exo-Venus in the Solar Neighborhood. United States. doi:10.3847/1538-3881/AA615F.
Angelo, Isabel, Rowe, Jason F., Huber, Daniel, Howell, Steve B., Quintana, Elisa V., Burningham, Ben, Barclay, Thomas, Still, Martin, Mann, Andrew W., Ciardi, David R., and Kane, Stephen R., E-mail: isabelangelo@berkeley.edu. Sat . "Kepler-1649b: An Exo-Venus in the Solar Neighborhood". United States. doi:10.3847/1538-3881/AA615F.
@article{osti_22663715,
title = {Kepler-1649b: An Exo-Venus in the Solar Neighborhood},
author = {Angelo, Isabel and Rowe, Jason F. and Huber, Daniel and Howell, Steve B. and Quintana, Elisa V. and Burningham, Ben and Barclay, Thomas and Still, Martin and Mann, Andrew W. and Ciardi, David R. and Kane, Stephen R., E-mail: isabelangelo@berkeley.edu},
abstractNote = {The Kepler mission has revealed that Earth-sized planets are common, and dozens have been discovered to orbit in or near their host star’s habitable zone. A major focus in astronomy is to determine which of these exoplanets are likely to have Earth-like properties that are amenable to follow-up with both ground- and future space-based surveys, with an ultimate goal of probing their atmospheres to look for signs of life. Venus-like atmospheres will be of particular interest in these surveys. While Earth and Venus evolved to have similar sizes and densities, it remains unclear what factors led to the dramatic divergence of their atmospheres. Studying analogs to both Earth and Venus can thus shed light on the limits of habitability and the potential for life on known exoplanets. Here, we present the discovery and confirmation of Kepler-1649b, an Earth-sized planet orbiting a nearby M5V star that receives incident flux at a level similar to that of Venus. We present our methods for characterizing the star, using a combination of point-spread function photometry, ground-based spectroscopy, and imaging, to confirm the planetary nature of Kepler-1649b. Planets like Kepler-1649b will be prime candidates for atmospheric and habitability studies in the next generation of space missions.},
doi = {10.3847/1538-3881/AA615F},
journal = {Astronomical Journal (Online)},
number = 4,
volume = 153,
place = {United States},
year = {Sat Apr 01 00:00:00 EDT 2017},
month = {Sat Apr 01 00:00:00 EDT 2017}
}
  • We analyze 26 archival Kepler transits of the exo-Neptune HAT-P-11b, supplemented by ground-based transits observed in the blue (B band) and near-IR (J band). Both the planet and host star are smaller than previously believed; our analysis yields R{sub p} = 4.31 R{sub +} {+-} 0.06 R{sub +} and R{sub s} = 0.683 R{sub sun} {+-} 0.009 R{sub sun}, both about 3{sigma} smaller than the discovery values. Our ground-based transit data at wavelengths bracketing the Kepler bandpass serve to check the wavelength dependence of stellar limb darkening, and the J-band transit provides a precise and independent constraint on the transitmore » duration. Both the limb darkening and transit duration from our ground-based data are consistent with the new Kepler values for the system parameters. Our smaller radius for the planet implies that its gaseous envelope can be less extensive than previously believed, being very similar to the H-He envelope of GJ 436b and Kepler-4b. HAT-P-11 is an active star, and signatures of star spot crossings are ubiquitous in the Kepler transit data. We develop and apply a methodology to correct the planetary radius for the presence of both crossed and uncrossed star spots. Star spot crossings are concentrated at phases -0.002 and +0.006. This is consistent with inferences from Rossiter-McLaughlin measurements that the planet transits nearly perpendicular to the stellar equator. We identify the dominant phases of star spot crossings with active latitudes on the star, and infer that the stellar rotational pole is inclined at about 12{sup 0} {+-} 5{sup 0} to the plane of the sky. We point out that precise transit measurements over long durations could in principle allow us to construct a stellar Butterfly diagram to probe the cyclic evolution of magnetic activity on this active K-dwarf star.« less
  • Transiting planets have greatly expanded and diversified the exoplanet field. These planets provide greater access to characterization of exoplanet atmospheres and structure. The Kepler mission has been particularly successful in expanding the exoplanet inventory, even to planets smaller than the Earth. The orbital period sensitivity of the Kepler data is now extending into the habitable zones of their host stars, and several planets larger than the Earth have been found to lie therein. Here we examine one such proposed planet, Kepler-69c. We provide new orbital parameters for this planet and an in-depth analysis of the habitable zone. We find that,more » even under optimistic conditions, this 1.7 R{sub Circled-Plus} planet is unlikely to be within the habitable zone of Kepler-69. Furthermore, the planet receives an incident flux of 1.91 times the solar constant, which is similar to that received by Venus. We thus suggest that this planet is likely a super-Venus rather than a super-Earth in terms of atmospheric properties and habitability, and we propose follow-up observations to disentangle the ambiguity.« less
  • The field of exoplanetary science has seen a dramatic improvement in sensitivity to terrestrial planets over recent years. Such discoveries have been a key feature of results from the Kepler mission which utilizes the transit method to determine the size of the planet. These discoveries have resulted in a corresponding interest in the topic of the Habitable Zone and the search for potential Earth analogs. Within the solar system, there is a clear dichotomy between Venus and Earth in terms of atmospheric evolution, likely the result of the large difference (approximately a factor of two) in incident flux from themore » Sun. Since Venus is 95% of the Earth's radius in size, it is impossible to distinguish between these two planets based only on size. In this Letter we discuss planetary insolation in the context of atmospheric erosion and runaway greenhouse limits for planets similar to Venus. We define a ''Venus Zone'' in which the planet is more likely to be a Venus analog rather than an Earth analog. We identify 43 potential Venus analogs with an occurrence rate (η{sub ♀}) of 0.32{sub −0.07}{sup +0.05} and 0.45{sub −0.09}{sup +0.06} for M dwarfs and GK dwarfs, respectively.« less
  • The stellar magnetic field plays a crucial role in the star internal mechanisms, as in the interactions with its environment. The study of starspots provides information about the stellar magnetic field and can characterize the cycle. Moreover, the analysis of solar-type stars is also useful to shed light onto the origin of the solar magnetic field. The objective of this work is to characterize the magnetic activity of stars. Here, we studied two solar-type stars, Kepler-17 and Kepler-63, using two methods to estimate the magnetic cycle length. The first one characterizes the spots (radius, intensity, and location) by fitting themore » small variations in the light curve of a star caused by the occultation of a spot during a planetary transit. This approach yields the number of spots present in the stellar surface and the flux deficit subtracted from the star by their presence during each transit. The second method estimates the activity from the excess in the residuals of the transit light curves. This excess is obtained by subtracting a spotless model transit from the light curve and then integrating all the residuals during the transit. The presence of long-term periodicity is estimated in both time series. With the first method, we obtained P {sub cycle} = 1.12 ± 0.16 year (Kepler-17) and P {sub cycle} = 1.27 ± 0.16 year (Kepler-63), and for the second approach the values are 1.35 ± 0.27 year and 1.27 ± 0.12 year, respectively. The results of both methods agree with each other and confirm their robustness.« less