Kepler-16: a transiting circumbinary planet.

Carl Sagan Center for the Study of Life in the Universe, SETI Institute, 189 Bernardo Avenue, Mountain View, CA 94043, USA.
Science (Impact Factor: 31.2). 09/2011; 333(6049):1602-6. DOI: 10.1126/science.1210923
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT We report the detection of a planet whose orbit surrounds a pair of low-mass stars. Data from the Kepler spacecraft reveal transits of the planet across both stars, in addition to the mutual eclipses of the stars, giving precise constraints on the absolute dimensions of all three bodies. The planet is comparable to Saturn in mass and size and is on a nearly circular 229-day orbit around its two parent stars. The eclipsing stars are 20 and 69% as massive as the Sun and have an eccentric 41-day orbit. The motions of all three bodies are confined to within 0.5° of a single plane, suggesting that the planet formed within a circumbinary disk.

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