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Boise State Prof Helps Discover New Planetary System

By: Kathleen Tuck   Published 2:42 pm / February 13, 2017

Brian Jackson at the Observatory.

A new planetary system discovered through the efforts of SuPerPiG (Short Period Planets Group) officially has been recognized by the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC) at CalTech. IPAC extended the recognition on behalf of the NASA Exoplanet Archive.

SuPerPiG is a NASA-funded collaboration to find, confirm and study extrasolar or exosolar  ultra-short-period planets orbiting very close to their host stars over extremely short time periods (less than one day). Already, many candidate planets have been found by the group using data from NASA’s Kepler and K2 missions.

“Over the last few decades, astronomers have found planets in almost every nook and cranny that they can inhabit,” said Brian Jackson, leader of the SuPerPiG consortium and an assistant professor in the Department of Physics. “These ultra-short-period planets are another example of the surprisingly wide variety of planets in our galaxy and may help us to understand the origins and early histories of planetary systems like our own.”

The lead author of the study, Elisabeth Adams, associate research scientist at the Planetary Science Institute, says many more systems like this remain to be found, “and we’re enlisting the help of Boise State students to find them.”

Planets discovered with data from the K2 mission all have K2 names. The ultra-short-period planet circling the star EPIC 220674823 every 13 hours was discovered by SuPerPiG and assigned the name K2-106 b. A second planet, K2-106 c, also was discovered; this one has a much longer orbit of 13.3 days.

Learn more about these new planets at
http://www.astrojack.com/superpig-finds-two-new-planets/. Learn about Boise State’s planned astronomy outreach for the 2017 solar eclipse, and find out how you can donate to support the effort, at https://ponyup.boisestate.edu/idahoeclipse.