Exoplanets & Exomoons

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

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
April 11, 2017
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Kepler-1649b: An Exo-Venus in the Solar Neighborhood

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 PSF 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.

Isabel Angelo, Jason F. Rowe, Steve B. Howell, Elisa V. Quintana, Martin Still, Andrew W. Mann, Ben Burningham, Thomas Barclay, David R. Ciardi, Daniel Huber, Stephen Kane
(Submitted on 11 Apr 2017)

Comments: 8 pages, 9 figures
Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)
Journal reference: Astronomical Journal (2017), Volume 153, Number 4
DOI: 10.3847/1538-3881/aa615f
Cite as: arXiv:1704.03136 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:1704.03136v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
Submission history
From: Isabel Angelo
[v1] Tue, 11 Apr 2017 04:04:54 GMT (9798kb,D)

Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻