Kepler Team Announces Planet in a Binary Star System

Several astrobites authors are attending Extreme Solar Systems II in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. We were just treated to a fantastic talk by Josh Carter about an exciting new discovery from the Kepler team. As explained in the press release, Kepler has discovered a real-life version of Tatooine! The newly minted planet, dubbed Kepler-16b, orbits both stars on a 229 day orbit and is roughly the same size as Saturn.

Artist's conception of Kepler-16. Credit; NASA

About Courtney Dressing

I am a fourth-year graduate student in the Astronomy Department at Harvard University. My research interests include exoplanets, habitability, and astrobiology. I received a master's degree in astronomy and astrophysics from Harvard University and a bachelor's degree in astrophysical sciences from Princeton University. At Princeton, I worked with Jill Knapp to study the magnetic activity of M dwarfs with white dwarf companions and with Dave Spiegel to model the habitability of terrestrial exoplanets. For my senior thesis, I worked with Ed Turner, Michael McElwain, and the SEEDS (Strategic Explorations of Exoplanets and Disks with Subaru) collaboration to directly image young Jovian exoplanets using the Subaru telescope. At Harvard, I am working with Dave Charbonneau to study the properties, frequency, and detectability of small planets orbiting small stars.

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