Ten

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Just as the dust settled on the Kepler-34, Kepler-35, and (Kepler Object of Interest) KOI-961 systems, it seemed as though things would stay quiet for a while, with a discovery announcement every now and then. While my EOD (Exoplanet Orbit Database) duties will always be a priority, I was shifting my focus back to TERMS (Transit Emphemeris Refinement and Monitoring Survey). Using more recent velocities, we've begun to refit many planets' orbits in the past two weeks. The goal for now is to reduce the error on predicted transit time uncertainties.

For some planets with periods over a thousand days, the uncertainty was over half of the period. We've managed to lower such cases down so that the uncertainty is only a few percent. As last week drew to a close and I began to think about this week's post, the Kepler mission unleashed a fearsome pack of stars, each of which hosts multiple planets.

11 systems, 26 planets - it's time to return to this document again:Screen shot 2012-01-30 at 1.25.17 PM.png

(Screenshot of part of newplanet.txt, the template that we fill to make a file for each new planet) 

On Friday, I added the planets of Kepler-23 through Kepler-27. (On Wednesday, Jason Steffen, lead author of the paper for four of the systems, gave a colloquium, but I unfortunately did not attend.) With sixteen planets left, Eunkyu and I will work on getting them into exoplanets.org early this week. One of the systems, Kepler-33, has five confirmed planets. The HD 10180 and Kepler-11 systems contain six so far, and that is the most that has been discovered (excluding our solar system, of course).  

post 10 - 1 - multi.jpg

Source - NASA Ames/Jason Steffen - View larger

If you open the picture in its full size, you can see the eleven new systems on the right, in green. The red systems in the middle are the rest of Kepler's multi-planet systems up to now. KOI-961's planets are quite small. 

post 10 - 2 - koi-961.jpg

Source - NASA/Caltech

The blue system, the one with the most planets, is our solar system. You'll notice that Earth is the d-component. It's odd, at least to me, to think of our planet like that. In this vast universe, because we have found other planetary systems, we belong. 

After all this, I had a dream on Saturday night. For the first time since I started working on exoplanets.org in September 2010, I had a dream that had something to do with my research. I was in front of the computer I usually work on in the astronomy undergrad lounge, with this  table open in a browser window. For some reason, a particular planet raised my interest; I remember feeling high anticipation and excitement. I think this had more to do with my recent TERMS work, as significantly reducing transit timing errors brought some planets to our attention. The planet was HAT-P-27 b. It already transits, and, after waking up, because I wasn't sure if it already resided in our database, I checked, and it was. With all the Kepler planets running through my mind lately, I wonder why HAT-P-27 b made it into this dream.

Have you ever had an intriguing dream that had to do with your area of study or a passion of yours? Feel free to share; I'd love to hear from you. I've greatly enjoyed blogging about my experiences so far, and this is my tenth post!  Many entries and planets are still to come, so stick around. 

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3 Comments

Happy 10th post! I haven't had a dream about my area of study yet (probably because I haven't decided on my area of study) but I had this dream that my arms fell off halfway through calculus. I have, however, had other greatly enjoyable dreams.

Thank you Rowena!
Wow, an arm would be a great price to pay for calculus.

I don't know if an rm is a good price to pay for anything, but who knows what i'd give to be able to understand that rowena! haha

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