Lifting transit signals from the Kepler noise floor. I. Discovery of a warm Neptune.
KUNIMOTO M., MATTHEWS J.M., ROWE J.F. and HOFFMAN K.
Abstract (from CDS):
Light curves from the 4-year Kepler exoplanet hunting mission have been searched for transits by NASA's Kepler team and others, but there are still important discoveries to be made. We have searched the light curves of 400 Kepler Objects of Interest (KOIs) to find transit signals down to signal-to-noise ratio (S/N) ∼ 6, which is under the limit of S/N ∼ 7.1 that has been commonly adopted as a strict threshold to distinguish between a transit candidate and false alarm. We detect four new and convincing planet candidates ranging in radius from near-Mercury-size to slightly larger than Neptune. We highlight the discovery of KOI-408.05 (period = 637 days; radius = 4.9 R⊕; incident flux = 0.6 S⊕), a planet candidate within its host star's Habitable Zone. We dub this planet a "warm Neptune," a likely volatile-rich world that deserves closer inspection. KOI-408.05 joins 21 other confirmed and candidate planets in the current Kepler sample with semimajor axes a > 1.4 au. These discoveries are significant as a demonstration that the S/N threshold for detection used by the Kepler project is open to debate.