Monday, July 6, 2015

How Common are Terrestrial Exoplanets Around Kepler's G & K Dwarf Stars?

Terrestrial Planet Occurrence Rates for the Kepler GK Dwarf Sample


Burke et al


We measure planet occurrence rates using the planet candidates discovered by the Q1-Q16 Kepler pipeline search. This study examines planet occurrence rates for the Kepler GK dwarf target sample for planet radii, 0.75 less than Rp less than 2.5 Rearth, and orbital periods, 50 less than Porb less than 300 days, with an emphasis on a thorough exploration and identification of the most important sources of systematic uncertainties. Integrating over this parameter space, we measure an occurrence rate of F=0.77 planets per star, with an allowed range of 0.3 less than F less than 1.9. The allowed range takes into account both statistical and systematic uncertainties, and values of F beyond the allowed range are significantly in disagreement with our analysis. We generally find higher planet occurrence rates and a steeper increase in planet occurrence rates towards small planets than previous studies of the Kepler GK dwarf sample. Through extrapolation, we find that the one year orbital period terrestrial planet occurrence rate, zeta_1=0.1, with an allowed range of 0.01 less than zeta_1 less than 2, where zeta_1 is defined as the number of planets per star within 20% of the Rp and Porb of Earth. For G dwarf hosts, the zeta_1 parameter space is a subset of the larger eta_earth parameter space, thus zeta_1 places a lower limit on eta_earth for G dwarf hosts. From our analysis, we identify the leading sources of systematics impacting Kepler occurrence rate determinations as: reliability of the planet candidate sample, planet radii, pipeline completeness, and stellar parameters.

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