Kepler-1649b: An Exo-Venus in the Solar Neighborhood

April 2017 • 2017AJ....153..162A

Authors • Angelo, Isabel • Rowe, Jason F. • Howell, Steve B. • Quintana, Elisa V. • Still, Martin • Mann, Andrew W. • Burningham, Ben • Barclay, Thomas • Ciardi, David R. • Huber, Daniel • Kane, Stephen R.

Abstract • The Kepler mission has revealed that Earth-sized planets are common, and dozens have been discovered to orbit in or near their host star’s habitable zone. A major focus in astronomy is to determine which of these exoplanets are likely to have Earth-like properties that are amenable to follow-up with both ground- and future space-based surveys, with an ultimate goal of probing their atmospheres to look for signs of life. Venus-like atmospheres will be of particular interest in these surveys. While Earth and Venus evolved to have similar sizes and densities, it remains unclear what factors led to the dramatic divergence of their atmospheres. Studying analogs to both Earth and Venus can thus shed light on the limits of habitability and the potential for life on known exoplanets. Here, we present the discovery and confirmation of Kepler-1649b, an Earth-sized planet orbiting a nearby M5V star that receives incident flux at a level similar to that of Venus. We present our methods for characterizing the star, using a combination of point-spread function photometry, ground-based spectroscopy, and imaging, to confirm the planetary nature of Kepler-1649b. Planets like Kepler-1649b will be prime candidates for atmospheric and habitability studies in the next generation of space missions.


IPAC Authors


David Ciardi

Senior Scientist