A cosmic barbecue: Researchers spot 60 new ‘hot Jupiter’ candidates

image of phase curve
July 6, 2017

Sarah Millholland, GRD ‘22 and astronomy professor Greg Laughlin  have identified 60 potential new “hot Jupiters” — highly irradiated worlds that glow like coals on a barbecue grill and are found orbiting only 1% of Sun-like stars.

The researchers identified the planet candidates via a novel application of big data techniques. They used a supervised machine learning algorithm — a sophisticated program that can be trained to recognize patterns in data and make predictions — to detect the tiny amplitude variations in observed light that result as an orbiting planet reflects rays of light from its host star.

The Yale technique pioneers a new discovery method that identifies more planets from the publicly available Kepler data, said the researchers.

A new, Yale-designed instrument known as EXPRES, which is being installed on the Discovery Channel Telescope in Arizona, may attempt to make confirmations later this year.

The study has been accepted for publication in The Astronomical Journal.

A 3D manipulable diagram of a hot Jupiter in various phases of its orbit is available here.

This article has been adapted from the Yale University Press Release by Jim Shelton.  Full text at URL, below.