Presentation Time: 11:05-11:25
Home University: UNC-Chapel Hill
Research Mentor: Andrew Mann, Physics and Astronomy
Research Title: The Characterization of a Young Exoplanet From the Kepler Mission
Due to various natural processes, planets will change over their lifetime. We can see this in our Solar System, as Mars and Venus show evidence of once liquid water, and Earth shows an evolving atmosphere and terrain. Since their initial discovery in 1992, nearly 4400 exoplanets, residing outside of our Solar System, have been confirmed. However, less than 1% are considered young planets less than 500 million-years-old. Young planet discovery aids in understanding planetary evolution. When comparing younger and older exoplanets, more data will help to create statistically significant results, thus mitigating the effects of outliers. We seek to characterize a known young planet candidate initially considered a false positive. Using neighboring stars’ properties, including kinematics, rotation, color, magnitude, and Lithium abundance, we estimate the stellar association, and thus the host star, to be 80 million-years-old. The planet is orbiting a young analog of our older Sun (5 billion-years-old) in an association overlapping with the Kepler-prime field. By analyzing the light curve, or the star’s observed brightness over time, using a Markov Chain Monte–Carlo based modeling approach taking into account our updated stellar parameters, we estimate the planet to be about twice the size of Earth (1.95±0.10R⊕) on a close-in orbit (19.58 days). Given its age and parameters, this system is valuable for the continual research on the evolution of young systems.