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Kepler Sees Partial Exoplanetary Eclipse 35

New submitter CelestialScience writes "The heavens have aligned in a way never seen before, with two exoplanets overlapping as they cross their star. Teruyuki Hirano of the University of Tokyo, Japan, and colleagues used data from the Kepler space telescope to probe KOI-94, a star seemingly orbited by four planets. It seems that one planet candidate, KOI-94.03, passed in front of the star and then the innermost candidate, KOI-94.01, passed between the two. The phenomenon is so new it doesn't yet have a name, though suggestions include 'planet-planet eclipse,' 'double transit,' 'syzygy' and 'exosyzygy.'"
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Kepler Sees Partial Exoplanetary Eclipse

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  • by Baloroth ( 2370816 ) on Wednesday October 03, 2012 @05:01PM (#41542873)

    Or 'multi-object occultation'?

    Not really, since the star wasn't blocked from view (well, I'm assuming it wasn't, would need to be a really big planet for that to happen) by either planet, although the inner one may have been blocked by the outer, so it couldn't be an occultation. This would be a transit, since it is an apparently smaller body passing in front of a larger one, although the inner planet may be being occulted by the outer.

    Since it is three bodies, though, we already have a term for this: syzygy. That is exactly what it is. Three celestial bodies in apparent alignment (although all Kepler observations use syzygies, since they rely on the Earth, planet, and star being in alignment).

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