Wednesday, February 8, 2017

How Common are Long Period Transiting Exoplanets Expected to be?


Foreman-Mackey et al


The Kepler mission has discovered thousands of exoplanets and revolutionized our understanding of their population. This large, homogeneous catalog of discoveries has enabled rigorous studies of the occurrence rate of exoplanets and planetary systems as a function of their physical properties. However, transit surveys such as Kepler are most sensitive to planets with orbital periods much shorter than the orbital periods of Jupiter and Saturn, the most massive planets in our solar system. To address this deficiency, we perform a fully automated search for long-period exoplanets with only one or two transits in the archival Kepler light curves. When applied to the ~40,000 brightest Sun-like target stars, this search produces 16 long-period exoplanet candidates. Of these candidates, six are novel discoveries and five are in systems with inner short-period transiting planets. Since our method involves no human intervention, we empirically characterize the detection efficiency of our search. Based on these results, we measure the average occurrence rate of exoplanets smaller than Jupiter with orbital periods in the range 2–25 years to be 2.0 ± 0.7 planets per Sun-like star.

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