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First multiple exoplanet eclipse spotted by Kepler

A team from the University of Japan have found a unique occurrence in data from Kepler – the first multiple planet eclipse around a star called KOI-94.

KOI-94 has a number of exoplanet candidates. According to the team, one of these candidates was transiting (passing in front of the star) when another planet candidate (on a tighter orbit) passed between the star and the initial planet.

Despite reports that this occurence doesnt have a name, we do actually have a name for it: Syzygy, where three bodies enter a straight-line configuration.

As the planetary candidates have yet to be confirmed, this theory is the current best guess as to what happened – unless the transiting planet passed over a sunspot.

This article summarised from the abstract at Arxiv.org.

The paper will be published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters: “Planet-Planet Eclipse and the Rossiter-McLaughlin Effect of a Multiple Transiting System: Joint Analysis of the Subaru Spectroscopy and the Kepler Photometry” by Teruyuki Hirano, Norio Narita, Bun’ei Sato, Yasuhiro H. Takahashi, Kento Masuda, Yoichi Takeda, Wako Aoki, Motohide Tamura & Yasushi Suto.

New Scientist has a writeup and associated video here.

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About The Author
My name's Chris Pounds. I started Astronomy Aggregator in 2012 as a hobby site for my interests in spaceflight and astronomy. I'm finishing up an MSc. in Aerospace Engineering. My undergraduate degree was in Mechanical Engineering with a final year dissertation focussed on performance characteristics of aerospike rocket nozzles.

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