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Astrophysics > Earth and Planetary Astrophysics

Title: The Radius Distribution of Small Planets Around Cool Stars

Abstract: We calculate an empirical, non-parametric estimate of the shape of the radius distribution of small planets with periods less than 90 days using the small yet well-characterized sample of cool T_eff <4000 K dwarf stars in the Kepler catalog. Using a new technique we call a modified kernel density estimator (MKDE) and carefully correcting for incompleteness, we show that planets with radii ~1.25 R_earth are the most common planets around these stars. An apparent overabundance of planets with radii 2-2.5 R_earth may be evidence for a population of planets with H/He atmospheres. Lastly, the sharp rise in the radius distribution from ~4 R_earth to 2 R_earth implies that a large number of planets await discovery around cool dwarfs as the sensitivities of ground-based surveys increase. The radius distribution will continue to be tested with future Kepler results, but the features reported herein are robust features of the current dataset and thus invite theoretical explanation in the context of planetary system formation and evolution around cool stars.
Comments: 12 pages, 5 figures, submitted to ApJ
Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)
Cite as: arXiv:1303.3013 [astro-ph.EP]
  (or arXiv:1303.3013v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)

Submission history

From: Timothy Morton [view email]
[v1] Tue, 12 Mar 2013 20:08:40 GMT (207kb,D)