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Space Science

Kepler Discovers 'Phantom' Exoplanet 78

astroengine writes "The Kepler space telescope has spotted an extra-solar planet with a very odd orbit. Sometimes Kepler-19b slows down by five minutes during its 9-day orbit. Other times it speeds up by five minutes. Johannes Kelper's laws of orbital dynamics never said a celestial body can arbitrarily speed up and slow down; another planetary body must therefore be gravitationally acting on Kepler-19b. Enter Kepler-19c, a world that hasn't been observed, but its gravitational effects have. This is an unprecedented discovery, one that could potentially be used in multi-planetary star systems to discover more 'phantom' worlds that would have otherwise gone unnoticed."
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Kepler Discovers 'Phantom' Exoplanet

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  • Unprecedented? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jaryn ( 880486 ) on Saturday September 10, 2011 @01:48PM (#37363172)

    Unprecedented? Isn't this pretty well the way we discover all extra-solar planets? Through star wobble? Unless we're lucky enough to line up for a full on occlusion?

    I mean, I guess in this case it's "planet wobble". But FTFA: "Interestingly, planets in our solar system have been detected through a similar method."

    So uh... unprecedented?

The moon may be smaller than Earth, but it's further away.