Kepler 453 b: the 10th Kepler Transiting Circumbinary Planet

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We present the discovery of Kepler-453 b, a 6.2 planet in a low-eccentricity, 240.5 day orbit about an eclipsing binary. The binary itself consists of a 0.94 and 0.195 pair of stars with an orbital period of 27.32 days. The plane of the planet's orbit is rapidly precessing, and its inclination only becomes sufficiently aligned with the primary star in the latter portion of the Kepler data. Thus three transits are present in the second half of the light curve, but none of the three conjunctions that occurred during the first half of the light curve produced observable transits. The precession period is ~103 years, and during that cycle, transits are visible only ~8.9% of the time. This has the important implication that for every system like Kepler-453 that we detect, there are ~11.5 circumbinary systems that exist but are not currently exhibiting transits. The planet's mass is too small to noticeably perturb the binary, and consequently its mass is not measurable with these data; however, our photodynamical model places a 1σ upper limit of . With a period 8.8 times that of the binary, the planet is well outside the dynamical instability zone. It does, however, lie within the habitable zone of the binary, making it the third of 10 Keplercircumbinary planets to do so.


Astrophysics and Astronomy