Transiting circumbinary planets Kepler-34 b and Kepler-35 b

William F. Welsh, Jerome A. Orosz, Joshua A. Carter, Daniel C. Fabrycky, Eric B. Ford, Jack J. Lissauer, Andrej Prša, Samuel N. Quinn, Darin Ragozzine, Donald R. Short, Guillermo Torres, Joshua N. Winn, Laurance R. Doyle, Thomas Barclay, Natalie Batalha, Steven Bloemen, Erik Brugamyer, Lars A. Buchhave, Caroline Caldwell, Douglas A. CaldwellJessie L. Christiansen, David R. Ciardi, William D. Cochran, Michael Endl, Jonathan J. Fortney, Thomas N. Gautier, Ronald L. Gilliland, Michael R. Haas, Jennifer R. Hall, Matthew J. Holman, Andrew W. Howard, Steve B. Howell, Howard Isaacson, Jon M. Jenkins, Todd C. Klaus, David W. Latham, Jie Li, Geoffrey W. Marcy, Tsevi Mazeh, Elisa V. Quintana, Paul Robertson, Avi Shporer, Jason H. Steffen, Gur Windmiller, David G. Koch, William J. Borucki

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Abstract

Most Sun-like stars in the Galaxy reside in gravitationally bound pairs of stars (binaries). Although long anticipated, the existence of a 'circumbinary planet' orbiting such a pair of normal stars was not definitively established until the discovery of the planet transiting (that is, passing in front of) Kepler-16. Questions remained, however, about the prevalence of circumbinary planets and their range of orbital and physical properties. Here we report two additional transiting circumbinary planets: Kepler-34 (AB)b and Kepler-35 (AB)b, referred to here as Kepler-34 b and Kepler-35 b, respectively. Each is a low-density gas-giant planet on an orbit closely aligned with that of its parent stars. Kepler-34 b orbits two Sun-like stars every 289 days, whereas Kepler-35 b orbits a pair of smaller stars (89% and 81% of the Sun's mass) every 131 days. The planets experience large multi-periodic variations in incident stellar radiation arising from the orbital motion of the stars. The observed rate of circumbinary planets in our sample implies that more than ∼1% of close binary stars have giant planets in nearly coplanar orbits, yielding a Galactic population of at least several million.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)475-479
Number of pages5
JournalNature
Volume481
Issue number7382
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 26 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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    Welsh, W. F., Orosz, J. A., Carter, J. A., Fabrycky, D. C., Ford, E. B., Lissauer, J. J., Prša, A., Quinn, S. N., Ragozzine, D., Short, D. R., Torres, G., Winn, J. N., Doyle, L. R., Barclay, T., Batalha, N., Bloemen, S., Brugamyer, E., Buchhave, L. A., Caldwell, C., ... Borucki, W. J. (2012). Transiting circumbinary planets Kepler-34 b and Kepler-35 b. Nature, 481(7382), 475-479. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature10768