posted on May, 11 2012 @ 02:34 AM
This is great news as this is the first time that this method was successfully used to detect exoplanets.
We will have to wait for Earth-sized planets to be discovered this way though, as the gravity field will surely be smaller; it was a Saturn-sized
planet that was found using this technique....
Sounds promising anyway!!
Using Kepler Telescope transit data of planet “b”, scientists predicted that a second planet “c” about the mass of Saturn orbits the
distant star KOI-872. This research, led by Southwest Research Institute and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, is providing evidence of
an orderly arrangement of planets orbiting KOI-872, not unlike our own solar system. Credit: Courtesy Southwest Research Institute
Scientists analyzed Kepler Telescope data and identified KOI-872 as a stellar system where measured transits of a planet orbiting the star show
large time variations (the shifting bumps in the data) indicative of a hidden companion. A team led by Southwest Research Institute and the
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics determined that the observed variations can be best explained by an unseen planet about the mass of Saturn
orbiting the host star every 57 days. Credit: Courtesy Southwest Research Institute
Source: Astrobiology magazine
More than a 150 years ago, before Neptune was ever sighted in the night sky, French mathematician Urbain Le Verrier predicted the planet’s
existence based on small deviations in the motion of Uranus. In a paper published in the journal Science online, a group of researchers led by Dr.
David Nesvorny of Southwest Research Institute has inferred another unseen planet, this time orbiting a distant star, marking the first success of
this technique outside the solar system.