The Detection and Characterization of a Nontransiting Planet by Transit Timing Variations

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Science  10 May 2012:
DOI: 10.1126/science.1221141

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The Kepler Mission is monitoring the brightness of ∼150,000 stars searching for evidence of planetary transits. As part of the “Hunt for Exomoons with Kepler” (HEK) project, we report a planetary system with two confirmed planets and one candidate planet discovered using the publicly available data for KOI-872. Planet b transits the host star every Pb = 33.6 d and exhibits large transit timing variations indicative of a perturber. Dynamical modeling uniquely detects an outer nontransiting planet c near the 5:3 resonance (Pc = 57.0 d) of mass Mc = 0.37 MJ. Transits of a third planetary candidate are also found; a 1.7 R Super-Earth with a 6.8 d period. Our analysis indicates a system with nearly coplanar and circular orbits, reminiscent of the orderly arrangement within the Solar System.

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