News & AnalysisAstronomy

Star-Crossing Planets Literally Strut Their Stuff

Science  17 Jan 2014:
Vol. 343, Issue 6168, pp. 240
DOI: 10.1126/science.343.6168.240

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Summary

Exoplanet hunters announced last week that they had found a tribe of "mini-Neptunes" and the lightest planet ever detected outside our solar system. The results show the power of an up-and-coming method of calculating the masses of alien worlds from the way they eclipse their stars. The new technique, called transit timing variation, is enabling astronomers to learn more about several of the hundreds of exoplanets amassed by NASA's Kepler spacecraft.