Physics Colloquium - Kepler's Multiple Planet Systems

Event Date: 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015 - 4:00pm

Event Location: 

  • Broida 1640
Speaker:

Jack Lissauer, NASA's Ames Research Center

Abstract:

Almost half of the more than 4000 candidate exoplanets found by NASA’s Kepler spacecraft are associated with target stars that have more than one planet candidate, and such “multis” account for the vast majority of candidates that have been verified as true planets. The large number of multis tells us that flat multi-planet systems like our own are common. Virtually all candidate systems are stable, as tested by numerical integrations (assuming a physically motivated mass-radius relationship). Statistical studies performed on these candidate systems reveal a great deal about the architecture of planetary systems, including the typical spacing of orbits and flatness. The characteristics of some of the most interesting confirmed Kepler multi-planet systems will also be discussed.