Half of all Exoplanets' host stars may be binary stars

Half of all Exoplanets' host stars may be binary stars

Zee Media Bureau

Washington: Half of all Exoplanets' host stars may actually be Binary stars as suggested by researchers.

Stars with exoplanets are likely to have a binary companion, 40 percent to 50 percent of the host stars are actually binary stars, as shown by a team of astronomers, led by Dr. Elliott Horch, Southern Connecticut State University.

It has been confirmed by NASA Kepler Space Telescope that about 1000 exoplanets as well as thousands of more stars are considered "Kepler objects of interest", dubbed KOIs, stars that could possibly host planets.

About half the stars in the sky are believed to consist of two stars orbiting each other. Binary stars are known to be commonplace.

A very high spatial resolution observation has been used in the study that was carried out on the WIYN telescope located on Kitt Peak in southern Arizona and the Gemini North telescope located on Mauna Kea in Hawaii.

A technique called speckle imaging has been used by the team, which consists of obtaining digital images of a small portion of the sky surrounding a star of interest, 15 to 25 times a second.

The findings are interesting, however, they cannot, in general, say which star in the system the planet actually orbits, said Dr. Steve B. Howell (NASA Ames Research Center).

Kepler has discovered a number of circumbinary planets, a planet that orbits both stars in very close binary systems. There also exist exoplanets that are known to orbit one of the stars in very wide binary systems.

The study was published in the Astrophysical Journal.

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