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News Article | June 5, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

A newly discovered Jupiter-like world is so hot that it's stretching the definition of the word "planet." With a day-side temperature of 4,600 Kelvin (more than 7,800 degrees Fahrenheit), planet KELT-9b is hotter than most stars, and only 1,200 Kelvin (about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit) cooler than our own sun. In an article in this week's issue of Nature, an international research team led by astronomers at Ohio State University and Vanderbilt University describes a planet with some very unusual features. The article is titled "A giant planet undergoing extreme ultraviolet irradiation by its hot massive-star host." Two Lehigh University astronomers -- Joshua Pepper , assistant professor of physics, and doctoral candidate Jonathan Labadie-Bartz--coauthored the study, which was also presented at the spring meeting of the American Astronomical Society. KELT-9b is a gas giant 2.8 times more massive than Jupiter but only half as dense, because extreme radiation from its host star has caused its atmosphere to puff up like a balloon. And because it is tidally locked to its star -- as the moon is to Earth -- the day side of the planet is perpetually bombarded by stellar radiation, and as a result is so hot that molecules such as water, carbon dioxide and methane can't form there. The properties of the night side are still mysterious -- molecules may be able to form there, but probably only temporarily. "It's a planet by any of the typical definitions based on mass, but its atmosphere is almost certainly unlike any other planet we've ever seen just because of the temperature of its day side," said Scott Gaudi, professor of astronomy at Ohio State University and a leader of the study. KELT-9b orbits a star, dubbed KELT-9, which is more than twice as large and nearly twice as hot as our sun. "KELT-9 radiates so much ultraviolet radiation that it may completely evaporate the planet," said Keivan Stassun, a professor of physics and astronomy at Vanderbilt who directed the study with Gaudi. "Or, if gas giant planets like KELT-9b possess solid rocky cores as some theories suggest, the planet may be boiled down to a barren rock, like Mercury." That is, if the star doesn't grow to engulf it first. "KELT-9 will swell to become a red giant star in about a billion years," said Stassun. "The long-term prospects for life, or real estate for that matter, on KELT-9b are not looking good." Given that its atmosphere is constantly blasted with high levels of ultraviolet radiation, the planet may even be shedding a tail of evaporated planetary material like a comet, Gaudi added. While Gaudi and Stassun spend a lot of time developing missions designed to find habitable planets in other solar systems, the scientists said there's a good reason to study worlds that are unlivable in the extreme. "As has been highlighted by the recent discoveries from the MEarth collaboration, the planet around Proxima Centauri, and the astonishing system discovered around TRAPPIST-1, the astronomical community is clearly focused on finding Earthlike planets around small, cooler stars like our sun," said Gaudi. "They are easy targets and there's a lot that can be learned about potentially habitable planets orbiting very low-mass stars in general. "On the other hand, because KELT-9b's host star is bigger and hotter than the sun, it complements those efforts and provides a kind of touchstone for understanding how planetary systems form around hot, massive stars," Gaudi said. Stassun added, "As we seek to develop a complete picture of the variety of other worlds out there, it's important to know not only how planets form and evolve, but also when and under what conditions they are destroyed." How was the new planet found? In 2014, astronomers using the KELT-North telescope at Winer Observatory in Arizona noticed a tiny drop in the star's brightness--about half of one percent-- that indicated that a planet may have passed in front of the star. The brightness dipped once every 1.5 days, which means the planet completes a "yearly" circuit around its star every 1.5 days. Subsequent observations confirmed the signal to be due to a planet, and revealed it to be what astronomers call a "hot Jupiter"--the ideal kind of planet for the KELT telescopes to spot. KELT is short for "Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescope." Astronomers at Ohio State, Vanderbilt and Lehigh University jointly operate two KELTs (one each in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres) in order to fill a large gap in the available technologies for finding extrasolar planets. Other telescopes are designed to look at very faint stars in much small sections of the sky, and at very high resolution. The KELTs, in contrast, look at millions of very bright stars at once, over broad sections of sky, and at low resolution. It's a low-cost means of planet hunting, using mostly off-the-shelf technology: while a traditional astronomical telescope costs millions of dollars to build, the hardware for a KELT telescope runs less than $75,000. "This discovery is a testament to the discovery power of small telescopes, and the ability of citizen scientists to directly contribute to cutting-edge scientific research," said Pepper, who built the two KELT telescopes. The astronomers hope to take a closer look at KELT-9b with other telescopes--including Spitzer, the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), and eventually the James Webb Space Telescope. Observations with HST would enable them to see if the planet really does have a cometary tail, and to determine how much longer that planet will survive its current hellish condition. Besides Vanderbilt, Ohio State and Lehigh, American partner institutions include Fisk University, Pennsylvania State University, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network, University of Notre Dame, NASA Ames Research Center, Bay Area Environmental Research Institute, Swarthmore College, IPAC, Brigham Young University, University of California-Santa Cruz, University of Wyoming, Louisiana State University, University of Louisville, Spot Observatory in Nashville, Westminster College, Kutztown University, University of Hawaii, University of Washington, Texas A&M University, Wellesley College, and the Winer Observatory in Sonoita, Arizona. International team members are from Denmark, Italy, Japan, Portugal, Switzerland, Australia, Germany and South Africa. The study was largely funded by the National Science Foundation through an NSF CAREER Grant, NSF PAARE Grant and an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. Additional support came from NASA via the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the Exoplanet Exploration Program; the Harvard Future Faculty Leaders Postdoctoral Fellowship; Theodore Dunham, Jr., Grant from the Fund for Astronomical Research; and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.


That is what an international research team led by astronomers at Ohio State and Vanderbilt universities think they have found orbiting a massive star they have labeled KELT-9, located 650 light years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus. The discovery is described this week in a paper titled "A giant planet undergoing extreme-ultraviolet irradiation by its hot massive-star host" published by the journal Nature and in a presentation at the spring meeting of American Astronomical Society in Austin, Texas. With a day-side temperature peaking at 4,600 Kelvin (more than 7,800 degrees Fahrenheit), the newly discovered exoplanet, designated KELT-9b, is hotter than most stars and only 1,200 Kelvin (about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit) cooler than our own sun. In fact, the ultraviolet radiation from the star it orbits is so brutal that the planet may be literally evaporating away under the intense glare, producing a glowing gas tail. The super-heated planet has other unusual features as well. For instance, it's a gas giant 2.8 times more massive than Jupiter but only half as dense, because the extreme radiation from its host star has caused its atmosphere to puff up like a balloon. Because it is tidally locked to its star—as the moon is to Earth—the day side of the planet is perpetually bombarded by stellar radiation and, as a result, it is so hot that molecules such as water, carbon dioxide and methane can't form there. "It's a planet by any of the typical definitions based on mass, but its atmosphere is almost certainly unlike any other planet we've ever seen just because of the temperature of its day side," said Scott Gaudi, professor of astronomy at The Ohio State University and one of the lead authors of the study. The reason the exoplanet is so hot is because the star it orbits is more than twice as large and nearly twice as hot as our sun. "KELT-9 radiates so much ultraviolet radiation that it may completely evaporate the planet. Or, if gas giant planets like KELT-9b possess solid rocky cores as some theories suggest, the planet may be boiled down to a barren rock, like Mercury," said Keivan Stassun, Stevenson Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Vanderbilt, who directed the study with Gaudi. On the other hand, the planet's orbit is extremely close to the star so if the star begins to expand it will engulf it. "KELT-9 will swell to become a red giant star in about a billion years," said Stassun. "The long-term prospects for life, or real estate for that matter, on KELT-9b are not looking good." While Stassun and Gaudi spend a lot of time developing missions, such as the NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, designed to find habitable planets in other solar systems, the scientists said there's a good reason to study worlds that are unlivable in the extreme. "The astronomical community is clearly focused on finding Earthlike planets around small, cooler stars like our sun. They are easy targets and there's a lot that can be learned about potentially habitable planets orbiting very low-mass stars in general. On the other hand, because KELT-9b's host star is bigger and hotter than the sun, it complements those efforts and provides a kind of touchstone for understanding how planetary systems form around hot, massive stars," Gaudi said. Stassun added, "As we seek to develop a complete picture of the variety of other worlds out there, it's important to know not only how planets form and evolve, but also when and under what conditions they are destroyed." How was the new planet found? "We were pretty lucky to catch the planet while its orbit transits the face of the star," said co-author Karen Collins, a post-doctoral fellow at Vanderbilt. "Because of its extremely short period, near-polar orbit and the fact that its host star is oblate, rather than spherical, we calculate that orbital precession will carry the planet out of view in about 150 years, and it won't reappear for roughly three and a half millennia." In 2014 astronomers spotted the exoplanet using one of two telescopes specially designed to detect planets orbiting bright stars—one in the northern and one in the southern hemisphere—jointly operated by Ohio State, Vanderbilt and Lehigh universities. The instruments, "Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescopes" or KELTs, fill a large gap in the available technologies for finding extrasolar planets. They use mostly off-the-shelf technology to provide a low-cost means of planet hunting. Whereas a traditional astronomical telescope costs millions of dollars to build, the hardware for a KELT telescope runs less than $75,000. Where other telescopes are designed to look at very faint stars in small sections of the sky at very high resolution, KELTs look at millions of very bright stars at once, over broad sections of sky, at relatively low resolution. "This result demonstrates that even 'extremely little' telescopes can play an important role in discovery," commented James Neff, astronomical sciences program director at the National Science Foundation, which partially funded the research. Using the KELT-North telescope at Winer Observatory in Arizona, the astronomers noticed a tiny drop in the star's brightness—only about half of one percent—which indicated that a planet may have passed in front of it. The brightness dipped once every 1.5 days, which means the planet completes a "yearly" circuit around its star every 1.5 days. Subsequent observations confirmed that the signal was caused by a transiting planet and revealed that it was what astronomers call a "hot Jupiter"—an ideal kind of planet for the KELT telescopes to spot. The astronomers hope to take a closer look at KELT-9b with other telescopes—including Spitzer, the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) and eventually the James Webb Space Telescope after it launches in 2018. Observations with HST would enable them to see if the planet really does have a cometary tail and allow them to estimate how much longer the planet will survive its current hellish condition. Explore further: New 'styrofoam' planet provides tools in search for habitable planets More information: B. Scott Gaudi et al, A giant planet undergoing extreme-ultraviolet irradiation by its hot massive-star host, Nature (2017). DOI: 10.1038/nature22392


News Article | June 6, 2017
Site: www.futurity.org

Imagine a planet like Jupiter zipping around its host star every day and a half, superheated to temperatures hotter than most stars and sporting a giant, glowing gas tail like a comet. That’s what astronomers think they found orbiting a massive star called KELT-9, located 650 light years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus. With a day-side temperature peaking at 4,600 Kelvin (more than 7,800 degrees Fahrenheit), the newly discovered exoplanet, designated KELT-9b, is hotter than most stars and only 1,200 Kelvin (about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit) cooler than our own sun. In fact, the ultraviolet radiation from the star it orbits is so brutal that the planet may be literally evaporating away under the intense glare, producing a glowing gas tail. The super-heated planet has other unusual features, too. For instance, it’s a gas giant 2.8 times more massive than Jupiter but only half as dense, because the extreme radiation from its host star has caused its atmosphere to puff up like a balloon. Because it is tidally locked to its star—as the moon is to Earth—the day side of the planet is perpetually bombarded by stellar radiation and, as a result, it is so hot that molecules such as water, carbon dioxide, and methane can’t form there. “It’s a planet by any of the typical definitions based on mass, but its atmosphere is almost certainly unlike any other planet we’ve ever seen just because of the temperature of its day side,” says Scott Gaudi, professor of astronomy at Ohio State University and one of the lead authors of the study in Nature. The reason the exoplanet is so hot is because the star it orbits is more than twice as large and nearly twice as hot as our sun. “KELT-9 radiates so much ultraviolet radiation that it may completely evaporate the planet. Or, if gas giant planets like KELT-9b possess solid rocky cores as some theories suggest, the planet may be boiled down to a barren rock, like Mercury,” says Keivan Stassun, professor of physics and astronomy at Vanderbilt University. On the other hand, the planet’s orbit is extremely close to the star so if the star begins to expand it will engulf it. “KELT-9 will swell to become a red giant star in about a billion years,” Stassun says. “The long-term prospects for life, or real estate for that matter, on KELT-9b are not looking good.” While Stassun and Gaudi spend a lot of time developing missions, such as the NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, designed to find habitable planets in other solar systems, they say there’s a good reason to study worlds that are unlivable in the extreme. “The astronomical community is clearly focused on finding Earthlike planets around small, cooler stars like our sun. They are easy targets and there’s a lot that can be learned about potentially habitable planets orbiting very low-mass stars in general. On the other hand, because KELT-9b’s host star is bigger and hotter than the sun, it complements those efforts and provides a kind of touchstone for understanding how planetary systems form around hot, massive stars,” Gaudi says. “As we seek to develop a complete picture of the variety of other worlds out there, it’s important to know not only how planets form and evolve, but also when and under what conditions they are destroyed,” Stassun adds. “We were pretty lucky to catch the planet while its orbit transits the face of the star,” says coauthor Karen Collins, a postdoctoral fellow at Vanderbilt. “Because of its extremely short period, near-polar orbit and the fact that its host star is oblate, rather than spherical, we calculate that orbital precession will carry the planet out of view in about 150 years, and it won’t reappear for roughly three and a half millennia.” In 2014 astronomers spotted the exoplanet using one of two telescopes specially designed to detect planets orbiting bright stars—one in the northern and one in the southern hemisphere—jointly operated by Ohio State, Vanderbilt, and Lehigh universities. The “Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescopes” or KELTs, fill a large gap in the available technologies for finding extrasolar planets. They use mostly off-the-shelf technology to provide a low-cost means of planet hunting. Whereas a traditional astronomical telescope costs millions of dollars to build, the hardware for a KELT telescope runs less than $75,000. Where other telescopes are designed to look at very faint stars in small sections of the sky at very high resolution, KELTs look at millions of very bright stars at once, over broad sections of sky, at relatively low resolution. “This result demonstrates that even ‘extremely little’ telescopes can play an important role in discovery,” says James Neff, astronomical sciences program director at the National Science Foundation, which partially funded the research. Using the KELT-North telescope at Winer Observatory in Arizona, the astronomers noticed a tiny drop in the star’s brightness—only about half of one percent—which indicated that a planet may have passed in front of it. The brightness dipped once every 1.5 days, which means the planet completes a “yearly” circuit around its star every 1.5 days. Subsequent observations confirmed that the signal was caused by a transiting planet and revealed that it was what astronomers call a “hot Jupiter”—an ideal kind of planet for the KELT telescopes to spot. The astronomers hope to take a closer look at KELT-9b with other telescopes—including Spitzer, the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) and eventually the James Webb Space Telescope after it launches in 2018. Observations with HST would enable them to see if the planet really does have a cometary tail and allow them to estimate how much longer the planet will survive its current hellish condition. American partner institutions include Ohio State University, Vanderbilt University, Fisk University, Pennsylvania State University, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network, University of Notre Dame, Lehigh University, NASA Ames Research Center, Bay Area Environmental Research Institute, Swarthmore College, IPAC, Brigham Young University, University of California-Santa Cruz, University of Wyoming, Louisiana State University, University of Louisville, Spot Observatory in Nashville, Westminster College, Kutztown University, University of Hawaii, University of Washington, Texas A&M University, Wellesley College, and Winer Observatory in Sonoita, AZ. International team members are from Denmark, Italy, Japan, Portugal, Switzerland, Australia, Germany, and South Africa. Additional funding came from NASA via the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the Exoplanet Exploration Program; the Harvard Future Faculty Leaders Postdoctoral Fellowship; the Fund for Astronomical Research; and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.


News Article | June 6, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

University Park, PA -- A newly discovered Jupiter-like world is so hot that even its nights are like the flame of a welding torch. Planet KELT-9b is hotter than most stars. With a day-side temperature of more than 7,800 degrees Fahrenheit (4,600 Kelvin), it is only about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit (1,200 Kelvin) cooler than our own sun. "At these temperatures, the fundamental component of KELT-9b's atmosphere will be blasted apart into individual atoms during the day," said Thomas Beatty, a research scientist at Penn State University and a coauthor on the study. This element is hydrogen, which usually exists as a pair of two hydrogen atoms. "Then as night falls, all those hydrogen atoms will try and get back together, creating an inferno at dusk," he said. "On Earth, this same process is used to create one of the hottest welding flames known." In this week's issue of the journal Nature, an international research team including astronomers from The Ohio State University, Vanderbilt University, and Penn State University describes this planet and some of its very unusual features. For instance, it is a gas giant 2.8 times more massive than Jupiter, but only half as dense because the extreme radiation from its host star has caused its atmosphere to puff up like a balloon. And because it is tidally locked to its star -- as the Moon is to Earth -- the day side of the planet is perpetually bombarded by radiation from its star and, as a result, is so hot that molecules such as water, carbon dioxide, methane and hydrogen can't form there. The properties of the night side are still mysterious -- molecules may be able to form there, but probably only temporarily. "It's a planet by any of the typical definitions based on mass, but its atmosphere is almost certainly unlike any other planet we've ever seen just because of the temperature of its day side," said Scott Gaudi, professor of astronomy at The Ohio State University and a leader of the study. KELT-9b orbits a star, dubbed KELT-9, that is more than twice as large and nearly twice as hot as our sun. Keivan Stassun, a professor of physics and astronomy at Vanderbilt who directed the study with Gaudi said, "KELT-9 radiates so much ultraviolet radiation that it may completely evaporate the planet. Or, if gas giant planets like KELT-9b possess solid rocky cores as some theories suggest, the planet may be boiled down to a barren rock, like Mercury." That is, if the star doesn't grow to engulf it first. "KELT-9 will swell to become a red giant star in about a billion years," said Stassun. "The long-term prospects for life, or real estate for that matter, on KELT-9b are not looking good." Given that its atmosphere is constantly blasted with high levels of ultraviolet radiation, the planet may even be shedding a tail of evaporated planetary material like a comet, Gaudi added. While Gaudi and Stassun spend a lot of time developing missions designed to find habitable planets in other solar systems, the scientists said there's a good reason to study worlds that are unlivable in the extreme. "As has been highlighted by the recent discoveries from the MEarth collaboration, the planet around Proxima Centauri, and the astonishing system discovered around TRAPPIST-1, the astronomical community is clearly focused on finding Earthlike planets around small, cooler stars like our sun. They are easy targets and there's a lot that can be learned about potentially habitable planets orbiting very-low-mass stars in general. On the other hand, because KELT-9b's host star is bigger and hotter than the sun, it complements those efforts and provides a kind of touchstone for understanding how planetary systems form around hot, massive stars," Gaudi said. Stassun added, "As we seek to develop a complete picture of the variety of other worlds out there, it's important to know not only how planets form and evolve, but also when and under what conditions they are destroyed." The astronomers hope to take a closer look at KELT-9b with other telescopes--including Spitzer, the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), and eventually the James Webb Space Telescope. Observations with HST would enable them to see if the planet really does have a cometary tail, and allow them to determine how much longer that planet will survive its current hellish condition. "Looking at KELT-9b with Hubble will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It's the only place in the universe where we can watch an entire planet go through a phase-change from day to night," said Beatty, who is leading the efforts to observe KELT-9b in more detail. How was this new planet found? In 2014, astronomers using the KELT-North telescope at Winer Observatory in Arizona noticed a tiny drop in the star's brightness--only about half of one percent--indicating that a planet may have passed in front of the star. The brightness dipped once every 1.5 days, which means the planet completes a "yearly" circuit around its star every 1.5 days. Subsequent observations confirmed the signal to be due to a planet, and revealed it to be what astronomers call a "hot Jupiter" -- the ideal kind of planet for the KELT telescopes to spot. KELT is short for "Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescope." Astronomers at Ohio State, Vanderbilt University, and Lehigh University jointly operate two KELTs (one each in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres) in order to fill a large gap in the available technologies for finding extrasolar planets. Other telescopes are designed to look at very faint stars in much small sections of the sky, and at very high resolution. The KELTs, in contrast, look at millions of very bright stars at once, over broad sections of sky, and at low resolution -- a low-cost means of planet hunting using mostly off-the-shelf technology. A traditional astronomical telescope costs millions of dollars to build, while the hardware for a KELT telescope runs less than $75,000. The study's coauthor from Penn State is Thomas Beatty, of the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics. American partner institutions include the Ohio State University, Vanderbilt University, Fisk University, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network, University of Notre Dame, Lehigh University, NASA Ames Research Center, Bay Area Environmental Research Institute, Swarthmore College, IPAC, Brigham Young University, University of California-Santa Cruz, University of Wyoming, Louisiana State University, University of Louisville, Spot Observatory in Nashville, Westminster College, Kutztown University, University of Hawaii, University of Washington, Texas A&M University, Wellesley College, and Winer Observatory in Sonoita, AZ. International team members are from Denmark, Italy, Japan, Portugal, Switzerland, Australia, Germany and South Africa. The study was largely funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) through an NSF CAREER Grant, NSF PAARE Grant and an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. Additional support came from NASA via the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the Exoplanet Exploration Program; the Harvard Future Faculty Leaders Postdoctoral Fellowship; Theodore Dunham, Jr., Grant from the Fund for Astronomical Research; and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.


News Article | June 5, 2017
Site: www.chromatographytechniques.com

A newly discovered Jupiter-like world is so hot that it’s stretching the definition of the word “planet.” With a day-side temperature of 4,600 Kelvin (more than 7,800 degrees Fahrenheit), planet KELT-9b is hotter than most stars, and only 1,200 Kelvin (about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit) cooler than our own sun. In this week’s issue of the journal Nature and at a presentation at the American Astronomical Society spring meeting, an international research team led by astronomers at The Ohio State University and Vanderbilt University describes a planet with some very unusual features. For instance, it’s a gas giant 2.8 times more massive than Jupiter but only half as dense, because the extreme radiation from its host star has caused its atmosphere to puff up like a balloon. And because it is tidally locked to its star—as the Moon is to Earth—the day side of the planet is perpetually bombarded by stellar radiation, and as a result is so hot that molecules such as water, carbon dioxide, and methane can’t form there. The properties of the night side are still mysterious—molecules may be able to form there, but probably only temporarily. “It’s a planet by any of the typical definitions based on mass, but its atmosphere is almost certainly unlike any other planet we’ve ever seen just because of the temperature of its day side,” said Scott Gaudi, professor of astronomy at The Ohio State University and a leader of the study. KELT-9b orbits a star, dubbed KELT-9, which is more than twice as large and nearly twice as hot as our sun. Keivan Stassun, a professor of physics and astronomy at Vanderbilt who directed the study with Gaudi said, “KELT-9 radiates so much ultraviolet radiation that it may completely evaporate the planet. Or, if gas giant planets like KELT-9b possess solid rocky cores as some theories suggest, the planet may be boiled down to a barren rock, like Mercury.” That is, if the star doesn’t grow to engulf it first. “KELT-9 will swell to become a red giant star in about a billion years,” said Stassun. “The long-term prospects for life, or real estate for that matter, on KELT-9b are not looking good.” Given that its atmosphere is constantly blasted with high levels of ultraviolet radiation, the planet may even be shedding a tail of evaporated planetary material like a comet, Gaudi added. While Gaudi and Stassun spend a lot of time developing missions designed to find habitable planets in other solar systems, the scientists said there’s a good reason to study worlds that are unlivable in the extreme. “As has been highlighted by the recent discoveries from the MEarth collaboration, the planet around Proxima Centauri, and the astonishing system discovered around TRAPPIST-1, the astronomical community is clearly focused on finding Earthlike planets around small, cooler stars like our sun. They are easy targets and there’s a lot that can be learned about potentially habitable planets orbiting very low-mass stars in general. On the other hand, because KELT-9b’s host star is bigger and hotter than the sun, it complements those efforts and provides a kind of touchstone for understanding how planetary systems form around hot, massive stars,” Gaudi said. Stassun added, “As we seek to develop a complete picture of the variety of other worlds out there, it’s important to know not only how planets form and evolve, but also when and under what conditions they are destroyed.” How was this new planet found? In 2014, astronomers using the KELT-North telescope at Winer Observatory in Arizona noticed a tiny drop in the star’s brightness—only about half of one percent— that indicated that a planet may have passed in front of the star. The brightness dipped once every 1.5 days, which means the planet completes a “yearly” circuit around its star every 1.5 days. Subsequent observations confirmed the signal to be due to a planet, and revealed it to be what astronomers call a “hot Jupiter”—the ideal kind of planet for the KELT telescopes to spot. KELT is short for “Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescope.” Astronomers at Ohio State, Vanderbilt University, and Lehigh University jointly operate two KELTs (one each in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres) in order to fill a large gap in the available technologies for finding extrasolar planets. Other telescopes are designed to look at very faint stars in much small sections of the sky, and at very high resolution. The KELTs, in contrast, look at millions of very bright stars at once, over broad sections of sky, and at low resolution. It's a low-cost means of planet hunting, using mostly off-the-shelf technology: whereas a traditional astronomical telescope costs millions of dollars to build, the hardware for a KELT telescope runs less than $75,000. "This discovery is a testament to the discovery power of small telescopes, and the ability of citizen scientists to directly contribute to cutting-edge scientific research," said Joshua Pepper, astronomer and assistant professor of physics at Lehigh University, who built the two KELT telescopes. The astronomers hope to take a closer look at KELT-9b with other telescopes—including Spitzer, the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), and eventually the James Webb Space Telescope. Observations with HST would enable them to see if the planet really does have a cometary tail, and allow them to determine how much longer that planet will survive its current hellish condition.


News Article | June 5, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Newly found world has a 'year' only 1.5 days long -- and may even have a tail like a comet AUSTIN--A newly discovered Jupiter-like world is so hot that it's stretching the definition of the word "planet." With a day-side temperature of 4,600 Kelvin (more than 7,800 degrees Fahrenheit), planet KELT-9b is hotter than most stars, and only 1,200 Kelvin (about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit) cooler than our own sun. In this week's issue of the journal Nature and at a presentation at the American Astronomical Society spring meeting, an international research team led by astronomers at The Ohio State University and Vanderbilt University describes a planet with some very unusual features. For instance, it's a gas giant 2.8 times more massive than Jupiter but only half as dense, because the extreme radiation from its host star has caused its atmosphere to puff up like a balloon. And because it is tidally locked to its star--as the Moon is to Earth--the day side of the planet is perpetually bombarded by stellar radiation, and as a result is so hot that molecules such as water, carbon dioxide, and methane can't form there. The properties of the night side are still mysterious--molecules may be able to form there, but probably only temporarily. "It's a planet by any of the typical definitions based on mass, but its atmosphere is almost certainly unlike any other planet we've ever seen just because of the temperature of its day side," said Scott Gaudi, professor of astronomy at The Ohio State University and a leader of the study. KELT-9b orbits a star, dubbed KELT-9, which is more than twice as large and nearly twice as hot as our sun. Keivan Stassun, a professor of physics and astronomy at Vanderbilt who directed the study with Gaudi said, "KELT-9 radiates so much ultraviolet radiation that it may completely evaporate the planet. Or, if gas giant planets like KELT-9b possess solid rocky cores as some theories suggest, the planet may be boiled down to a barren rock, like Mercury." That is, if the star doesn't grow to engulf it first. "KELT-9 will swell to become a red giant star in about a billion years," said Stassun. "The long-term prospects for life, or real estate for that matter, on KELT-9b are not looking good." Given that its atmosphere is constantly blasted with high levels of ultraviolet radiation, the planet may even be shedding a tail of evaporated planetary material like a comet, Gaudi added. While Gaudi and Stassun spend a lot of time developing missions designed to find habitable planets in other solar systems, the scientists said there's a good reason to study worlds that are unlivable in the extreme. "As has been highlighted by the recent discoveries from the MEarth collaboration, the planet around Proxima Centauri, and the astonishing system discovered around TRAPPIST-1, the astronomical community is clearly focused on finding Earthlike planets around small, cooler stars like our sun. They are easy targets and there's a lot that can be learned about potentially habitable planets orbiting very low-mass stars in general. On the other hand, because KELT-9b's host star is bigger and hotter than the sun, it complements those efforts and provides a kind of touchstone for understanding how planetary systems form around hot, massive stars," Gaudi said. Stassun added, "As we seek to develop a complete picture of the variety of other worlds out there, it's important to know not only how planets form and evolve, but also when and under what conditions they are destroyed." In 2014, astronomers using the KELT-North telescope at Winer Observatory in Arizona noticed a tiny drop in the star's brightness--only about half of one percent-- that indicated that a planet may have passed in front of the star. The brightness dipped once every 1.5 days, which means the planet completes a "yearly" circuit around its star every 1.5 days. Subsequent observations confirmed the signal to be due to a planet, and revealed it to be what astronomers call a "hot Jupiter"--the ideal kind of planet for the KELT telescopes to spot. KELT is short for "Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescope." Astronomers at Ohio State, Vanderbilt University, and Lehigh University jointly operate two KELTs (one each in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres) in order to fill a large gap in the available technologies for finding extrasolar planets. Other telescopes are designed to look at very faint stars in much small sections of the sky, and at very high resolution. The KELTs, in contrast, look at millions of very bright stars at once, over broad sections of sky, and at low resolution. It's a low-cost means of planet hunting, using mostly off-the-shelf technology: whereas a traditional astronomical telescope costs millions of dollars to build, the hardware for a KELT telescope runs less than $75,000. "This discovery is a testament to the discovery power of small telescopes, and the ability of citizen scientists to directly contribute to cutting-edge scientific research," said Joshua Pepper, astronomer and assistant professor of physics at Lehigh University, who built the two KELT telescopes. The astronomers hope to take a closer look at KELT-9b with other telescopes--including Spitzer, the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), and eventually the James Webb Space Telescope. Observations with HST would enable them to see if the planet really does have a cometary tail, and allow them to determine how much longer that planet will survive its current hellish condition. Study co-authors from Ohio State include Daniel J. Stevens, Marshall C. Johnson, Matthew Penney, Andrew Gould and Richard Pogge, all of the Department of Astronomy. American partner institutions include Vanderbilt University, Fisk University, Pennsylvania State University, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network, University of Notre Dame, Lehigh University, NASA Ames Research Center, Bay Area Environmental Research Institute, Swarthmore College, IPAC, Brigham Young University, University of California-Santa Cruz, University of Wyoming, Louisiana State University, University of Louisville, Spot Observatory in Nashville, Westminster College, Kutztown University, University of Hawaii, University of Washington, Texas A&M University, Wellesley College, and Winer Observatory in Sonoita, AZ. International team members are from Denmark, Italy, Japan, Portugal, Switzerland, Australia, Germany and South Africa. The study was largely funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) through an NSF CAREER Grant, NSF PAARE Grant and an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. Additional support came from NASA via the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the Exoplanet Exploration Program; the Harvard Future Faculty Leaders Postdoctoral Fellowship; Theodore Dunham, Jr., Grant from the Fund for Astronomical Research; and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. Editor's note: Visuals to accompany the story are available at http://go. .


News Article | June 5, 2017
Site: www.sciencedaily.com

A newly discovered Jupiter-like world is so hot that it's stretching the definition of the word "planet." With a day-side temperature of 4,600 Kelvin (more than 7,800 degrees Fahrenheit), planet KELT-9b is hotter than most stars, and only 1,200 Kelvin (about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit) cooler than our own sun. In this week's issue of the journal Nature and at a presentation at the American Astronomical Society spring meeting, an international research team led by astronomers at The Ohio State University and Vanderbilt University describes a planet with some very unusual features. For instance, it's a gas giant 2.8 times more massive than Jupiter but only half as dense, because the extreme radiation from its host star has caused its atmosphere to puff up like a balloon. And because it is tidally locked to its star -- as the Moon is to Earth -- the day side of the planet is perpetually bombarded by stellar radiation, and as a result is so hot that molecules such as water, carbon dioxide, and methane can't form there. The properties of the night side are still mysterious -- molecules may be able to form there, but probably only temporarily. "It's a planet by any of the typical definitions based on mass, but its atmosphere is almost certainly unlike any other planet we've ever seen just because of the temperature of its day side," said Scott Gaudi, professor of astronomy at The Ohio State University and a leader of the study. KELT-9b orbits a star, dubbed KELT-9, which is more than twice as large and nearly twice as hot as our sun. Keivan Stassun, a professor of physics and astronomy at Vanderbilt who directed the study with Gaudi said, "KELT-9 radiates so much ultraviolet radiation that it may completely evaporate the planet. Or, if gas giant planets like KELT-9b possess solid rocky cores as some theories suggest, the planet may be boiled down to a barren rock, like Mercury." That is, if the star doesn't grow to engulf it first. "KELT-9 will swell to become a red giant star in about a billion years," said Stassun. "The long-term prospects for life, or real estate for that matter, on KELT-9b are not looking good." Given that its atmosphere is constantly blasted with high levels of ultraviolet radiation, the planet may even be shedding a tail of evaporated planetary material like a comet, Gaudi added. While Gaudi and Stassun spend a lot of time developing missions designed to find habitable planets in other solar systems, the scientists said there's a good reason to study worlds that are unlivable in the extreme. "As has been highlighted by the recent discoveries from the MEarth collaboration, the planet around Proxima Centauri, and the astonishing system discovered around TRAPPIST-1, the astronomical community is clearly focused on finding Earthlike planets around small, cooler stars like our sun. They are easy targets and there's a lot that can be learned about potentially habitable planets orbiting very low-mass stars in general. On the other hand, because KELT-9b's host star is bigger and hotter than the sun, it complements those efforts and provides a kind of touchstone for understanding how planetary systems form around hot, massive stars," Gaudi said. Stassun added, "As we seek to develop a complete picture of the variety of other worlds out there, it's important to know not only how planets form and evolve, but also when and under what conditions they are destroyed." How was this new planet found? In 2014, astronomers using the KELT-North telescope at Winer Observatory in Arizona noticed a tiny drop in the star's brightness -- only about half of one percent -- that indicated that a planet may have passed in front of the star. The brightness dipped once every 1.5 days, which means the planet completes a "yearly" circuit around its star every 1.5 days. Subsequent observations confirmed the signal to be due to a planet, and revealed it to be what astronomers call a "hot Jupiter" -- the ideal kind of planet for the KELT telescopes to spot. KELT is short for "Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescope." Astronomers at Ohio State, Vanderbilt University, and Lehigh University jointly operate two KELTs (one each in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres) in order to fill a large gap in the available technologies for finding extrasolar planets. Other telescopes are designed to look at very faint stars in much small sections of the sky, and at very high resolution. The KELTs, in contrast, look at millions of very bright stars at once, over broad sections of sky, and at low resolution. It's a low-cost means of planet hunting, using mostly off-the-shelf technology: whereas a traditional astronomical telescope costs millions of dollars to build, the hardware for a KELT telescope runs less than $75,000. "This discovery is a testament to the discovery power of small telescopes, and the ability of citizen scientists to directly contribute to cutting-edge scientific research," said Joshua Pepper, astronomer and assistant professor of physics at Lehigh University, who built the two KELT telescopes. The astronomers hope to take a closer look at KELT-9b with other telescopes -- including Spitzer, the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), and eventually the James Webb Space Telescope. Observations with HST would enable them to see if the planet really does have a cometary tail, and allow them to determine how much longer that planet will survive its current hellish condition. Study co-authors from Ohio State include Daniel J. Stevens, Marshall C. Johnson, Matthew Penney, Andrew Gould and Richard Pogge, all of the Department of Astronomy. American partner institutions include Vanderbilt University, Fisk University, Pennsylvania State University, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network, University of Notre Dame, Lehigh University, NASA Ames Research Center, Bay Area Environmental Research Institute, Swarthmore College, IPAC, Brigham Young University, University of California-Santa Cruz, University of Wyoming, Louisiana State University, University of Louisville, Spot Observatory in Nashville, Westminster College, Kutztown University, University of Hawaii, University of Washington, Texas A&M University, Wellesley College, and Winer Observatory in Sonoita, AZ. International team members are from Denmark, Italy, Japan, Portugal, Switzerland, Australia, Germany and South Africa. The study was largely funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) through an NSF CAREER Grant, NSF PAARE Grant and an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. Additional support came from NASA via the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the Exoplanet Exploration Program; the Harvard Future Faculty Leaders Postdoctoral Fellowship; Theodore Dunham, Jr., Grant from the Fund for Astronomical Research; and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.


News Article | June 5, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Imagine a planet like Jupiter zipping around its host star every day and a half, superheated to temperatures hotter than most stars and sporting a giant, glowing gas tail like a comet. That is what an international research team led by astronomers at Ohio State and Vanderbilt universities think they have found orbiting a massive star they have labeled KELT-9, located 650 light years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus. The discovery is described this week in a paper titled "A giant planet undergoing extreme-ultraviolet irradiation by its hot massive-star host" published by the journal Nature and in a presentation at the spring meeting of American Astronomical Society in Austin, Texas. With a day-side temperature peaking at 4,600 Kelvin (more than 7,800 degrees Fahrenheit), the newly discovered exoplanet, designated KELT-9b, is hotter than most stars and only 1,200 Kelvin (about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit) cooler than our own sun. In fact, the ultraviolet radiation from the star it orbits is so brutal that the planet may be literally evaporating away under the intense glare, producing a glowing gas tail. The super-heated planet has other unusual features as well. For instance, it's a gas giant 2.8 times more massive than Jupiter but only half as dense, because the extreme radiation from its host star has caused its atmosphere to puff up like a balloon. Because it is tidally locked to its star -- as the moon is to Earth -- the day side of the planet is perpetually bombarded by stellar radiation and, as a result, it is so hot that molecules such as water, carbon dioxide and methane can't form there. "It's a planet by any of the typical definitions based on mass, but its atmosphere is almost certainly unlike any other planet we've ever seen just because of the temperature of its day side," said Scott Gaudi, professor of astronomy at The Ohio State University and one of the lead authors of the study. The reason the exoplanet is so hot is because the star it orbits is more than twice as large and nearly twice as hot as our sun. "KELT-9 radiates so much ultraviolet radiation that it may completely evaporate the planet. Or, if gas giant planets like KELT-9b possess solid rocky cores as some theories suggest, the planet may be boiled down to a barren rock, like Mercury," said Keivan Stassun, Stevenson Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Vanderbilt, who directed the study with Gaudi. On the other hand, the planet's orbit is extremely close to the star so if the star begins to expand it will engulf it. "KELT-9 will swell to become a red giant star in about a billion years," said Stassun. "The long-term prospects for life, or real estate for that matter, on KELT-9b are not looking good." While Stassun and Gaudi spend a lot of time developing missions, such as the NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, designed to find habitable planets in other solar systems, the scientists said there's a good reason to study worlds that are unlivable in the extreme. "The astronomical community is clearly focused on finding Earthlike planets around small, cooler stars like our sun. They are easy targets and there's a lot that can be learned about potentially habitable planets orbiting very low-mass stars in general. On the other hand, because KELT-9b's host star is bigger and hotter than the sun, it complements those efforts and provides a kind of touchstone for understanding how planetary systems form around hot, massive stars," Gaudi said. Stassun added, "As we seek to develop a complete picture of the variety of other worlds out there, it's important to know not only how planets form and evolve, but also when and under what conditions they are destroyed." How was the new planet found? "We were pretty lucky to catch the planet while its orbit transits the face of the star," said co-author Karen Collins, a post-doctoral fellow at Vanderbilt. "Because of its extremely short period, near-polar orbit and the fact that its host star is oblate, rather than spherical, we calculate that orbital precession will carry the planet out of view in about 150 years, and it won't reappear for roughly three and a half millennia." In 2014 astronomers spotted the exoplanet using one of two telescopes specially designed to detect planets orbiting bright stars -- one in the northern and one in the southern hemisphere--jointly operated by Ohio State, Vanderbilt and Lehigh universities. The instruments, "Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescopes" or KELTs, fill a large gap in the available technologies for finding extrasolar planets. They use mostly off-the-shelf technology to provide a low-cost means of planet hunting. Whereas a traditional astronomical telescope costs millions of dollars to build, the hardware for a KELT telescope runs less than $75,000. Where other telescopes are designed to look at very faint stars in small sections of the sky at very high resolution, KELTs look at millions of very bright stars at once, over broad sections of sky, at relatively low resolution. "This result demonstrates that even 'extremely little' telescopes can play an important role in discovery," commented James Neff, astronomical sciences program director at the National Science Foundation, which partially funded the research. Using the KELT-North telescope at Winer Observatory in Arizona, the astronomers noticed a tiny drop in the star's brightness--only about half of one percent--which indicated that a planet may have passed in front of it. The brightness dipped once every 1.5 days, which means the planet completes a "yearly" circuit around its star every 1.5 days. Subsequent observations confirmed that the signal was caused by a transiting planet and revealed that it was what astronomers call a "hot Jupiter"--an ideal kind of planet for the KELT telescopes to spot. The astronomers hope to take a closer look at KELT-9b with other telescopes--including Spitzer, the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) and eventually the James Webb Space Telescope after it launches in 2018. Observations with HST would enable them to see if the planet really does have a cometary tail and allow them to estimate how much longer the planet will survive its current hellish condition. American partner institutions include Ohio State University, Vanderbilt University, Fisk University, Pennsylvania State University, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network, University of Notre Dame, Lehigh University, NASA Ames Research Center, Bay Area Environmental Research Institute, Swarthmore College, IPAC, Brigham Young University, University of California-Santa Cruz, University of Wyoming, Louisiana State University, University of Louisville, Spot Observatory in Nashville, Westminster College, Kutztown University, University of Hawaii, University of Washington, Texas A&M University, Wellesley College, and Winer Observatory in Sonoita, AZ. International team members are from Denmark, Italy, Japan, Portugal, Switzerland, Australia, Germany and South Africa. The study was largely funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) through an NSF CAREER Grant AST-1056524, NSF PAARE Grant AST-1358862 and an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship under grant 2014184874. Additional support came from NASA via the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the Exoplanet Exploration Program; the Harvard Future Faculty Leaders Postdoctoral Fellowship; Theodore Dunham, Jr., Grant from the Fund for Astronomical Research; and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.


Siverd R.J.,Vanderbilt University | Beatty T.G.,Ohio State University | Pepper J.,Vanderbilt University | Eastman J.D.,Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network | And 34 more authors.
Astrophysical Journal | Year: 2012

We present the discovery of KELT-1b, the first transiting low-mass companion from the wide-field Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescope-North (KELT-North) transit survey. A joint analysis of the spectroscopic, radial velocity, and photometric data indicates that the V = 10.7 primary is a mildly evolved mid-F star with T eff= 6516 ± 49 K, log g = 4.228 +0.014 -0.021, and [Fe/H] = 0.052 ± 0.079, with an inferred mass M⊙* = 1.335 ± 0.063 M ⊙and radius R* = 1.471+0.045 -0.035 R. The companion is a low-mass brown dwarf or a super-massive planet with mass MP= 27.38 ± 0.93 M⊙Jup and radius RP= 1.116+0.038 -0.029RJup. The companion is on a very short (∼29 hr) period circular orbit, with an ephemeris Tc(BJDTDB) = 2455909.29280 ± 0.00023 and P = 1.217501 ± 0.000018 days. KELT-1b receives a large amount of stellar insolation, resulting in an estimated equilibrium temperature assuming zero albedo and perfect redistribution of T eq= 2423+34 -27 K. Comparison with standard evolutionary models suggests that the radius of KELT-1b is likely to be significantly inflated. Adaptive optics imaging reveals a candidate stellar companion to KELT-1 with a separation of 588 ± 1 mas, which is consistent with an M dwarf if it is at the same distance as the primary. Rossiter-McLaughlin measurements during transit imply a projected spin-orbit alignment angle λ = 2 ± 16 deg, consistent with a zero obliquity for KELT-1. Finally, the vsin I* = 56 ± 2 km s-1 of the primary is consistent at ∼2σ with tidal synchronization. Given the extreme parameters of the KELT-1 system, we expect it to provide an important testbed for theories of the emplacement and evolution of short-period companions, as well as theories of tidal dissipation and irradiated brown dwarf atmospheres. © 2012. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved..


PubMed | Light Technology, Sotto le Stelle, McMaster University, Attivarti.org and 20 more.
Type: | Journal: Scientific reports | Year: 2015

Despite constituting a widespread and significant environmental change, understanding of artificial nighttime skyglow is extremely limited. Until now, published monitoring studies have been local or regional in scope, and typically of short duration. In this first major international compilation of monitoring data we answer several key questions about skyglow properties. Skyglow is observed to vary over four orders of magnitude, a range hundreds of times larger than was the case before artificial light. Nearly all of the study sites were polluted by artificial light. A non-linear relationship is observed between the sky brightness on clear and overcast nights, with a change in behavior near the rural to urban landuse transition. Overcast skies ranged from a third darker to almost 18 times brighter than clear. Clear sky radiances estimated by the World Atlas of Artificial Night Sky Brightness were found to be overestimated by ~25%; our dataset will play an important role in the calibration and ground truthing of future skyglow models. Most of the brightly lit sites darkened as the night progressed, typically by ~5% per hour. The great variation in skyglow radiance observed from site-to-site and with changing meteorological conditions underlines the need for a long-term international monitoring program.

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