PSU: Sub-Neptune Sized Planet Validated with Habitable-Zone Planet Finder

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PSU: Sub-Neptune Sized Planet Validated with Habitable-Zone Planet Finder

Post by bystander » Thu Feb 20, 2020 7:07 pm

Sub-Neptune Sized Planet Validated with the Habitable-Zone Planet Finder
Eberly College of Science | Penn State University | 2020 Feb 20

A signal originally detected by the Kepler spacecraft has been validated as an exoplanet using the Habitable-zone Planet Finder (HPF), an astronomical spectrograph built by a Penn State team and recently installed on the 10m Hobby-Eberly Telescope at McDonald Observatory in Texas. The HPF provides the highest precision measurements to date of infrared signals from nearby low-mass stars, and astronomers used it to validate the candidate planet by excluding all possibilities of contaminating signals to very high level of probability. ...

The planet, called G 9-40b, is about twice the size of the Earth, but likely closer in size to Neptune, and orbits its low mass host star, an M dwarf star, only 100 light years from Earth. Kepler detected the planet by observing a dip in the host star’s light as the planet crossed in front of—or transited—the star during its orbit, a trip completed every six Earth days. This signal was then validated using precision spectroscopic observations from the HPF, ruling out the possibility of a close stellar or substellar binary companion. Observations from other telescopes, including the 3.5m telescope at Apache Point Observatory and the 3m Shane Telescope at Lick Observatory, helped to confirm the identification. ...

A Sub-Neptune-sized Planet Transiting the M2.5 Dwarf G 9-40:
Validation with the Habitable-zone Planet Finder
~ Gudmundur Stefansson et al
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