New methods confirmed 44 exoplanets including 16 earth sized exoplanets

An international team of astronomers using data from NASA’s Kepler and the European Space Agency (ESA)’s Gaia space telescopes, as well as ground-based telescopes have confirmed 44 exoplanets. New techniques developed to validate the find could hugely accelerate the confirmation of more extrasolar planet candidates.

John Livingston, lead author of the study and a graduate student at the University of Tokyo combined resources led to the confirmed existence of these 44 exoplanets and described various details about them.

A portion of the findings yield some surprising characteristics: “For example, four of the planets orbit their host stars in less than 24 hours,” says Livingston. “In other words, a year on each of those planets is shorter than a day here on Earth.” These contribute to a small but growing list of “ultrashort-period” planets, so it could turn out they’re not as unusual as they might seem.

“It was also gratifying to verify so many small planets,” continues Livingston. “Sixteen were in the same size class as Earth, one in particular turning out to be extremely small — about the size of Venus — which was a nice affirmation as it’s close to the limit of what is possible to detect.”

The Astronomical Journal – 44 Validated Planets from K2 Campaign 10


We present 44 validated planets from the 10th observing campaign of the NASA K2 mission, as well as high-resolution spectroscopy and speckle imaging follow-up observations. These 44 planets come from an initial set of 72 vetted candidates, which we subjected to a validation process incorporating pixel-level analyses, light curve analyses, observational constraints, and statistical false positive probabilities. Our validated planet sample has median values of ${R}_{p}$ = $2.2$ ${R}_{\oplus }$, P orb = $6.9$ days, ${T}_{\mathrm{eq}}$ = $890$ K, and J = $11.2$ mag. Of particular interest are four ultra-short period planets (${P}_{\mathrm{orb}}\lesssim 1$ day), 16 planets smaller than 2 ${R}_{\oplus }$, and two planets with large predicted amplitude atmospheric transmission features orbiting infrared-bright stars. We also present 27 planet candidates, most of which are likely to be real and worthy of further observations. Our validated planet sample includes 24 new discoveries and has enhanced the number of currently known super-Earths (${R}_{p}$ ≈ 1–2${R}_{\oplus }$), sub-Neptunes (${R}_{p}$ ≈ 2–4${R}_{\oplus }$), and sub-Saturns (${R}_{p}$ ≈ 4–8${R}_{\oplus }$) orbiting bright stars (J = 8–10 mag) by ~4%, ~17%, and ~11%, respectively.