Striking Exoplanetary Gold: Systems With Multiple Transiting Planets From The Kepler Space Telescope.
One of the greatest discoveries of NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope (“Kepler”) is the identification of stars with multiple transiting planets. Kepler has discovered hundreds of these “multi-transiting systems” containing more than 1000 high probability candidate planets. Recently, over 700 of these were announced as confirmed planets, a huge milestone for exoplanet discovery. These multi-transiting systems are the most information-rich planetary systems outside our own solar system because they combine the detailed planetary and orbital information available from transiting planets with the ability to apply multi-planet orbital dynamics. Kepler’s nearly homogeneous revolutionary dataset allows for fantastic new statistical analyses of both the frequency of different kinds of planets and the architecture of planetary systems. Kepler multi-transiting systems can be used to better understand the formation, evolution, frequency, and habitability of exoplanetary systems.To maximize the use of the information in these systems will require a complex study which is just beginning with funding from NASA. I will present our current best state of knowledge on the properties of these multiple systems, including the discovery of a new class of planetary systems: Systems with Tightly-packed Inner Planets.