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Ringing out the Old Year

December 30th, 2009

Image by JUNe (source)

At the beginning of the year, I made five exoplanet-related predictions:

1. A 1.75 Earth Mass planet orbiting a Main Sequence star.

2. A confirmed case of transit timing variations.

3. A transiting planet in a well-characterized multiple-planet system.

4. A transiting super-Earth (or more precisely, on the basis of observed composition, a transiting sup-Neptune).

5. 417 planets listed on exoplanet.eu.

So how did I do?

Prediction 1 was just a bit on the optimistic side. At present, the extrasolar planet with the lowest Msin(i) orbiting a Main Sequence star is Gliese 581e, with Msin(i)=1.94±0.22 Earth masses. So the forecast panned out to within the 1-sigma error. (Mayor et al.’s discovery paper is here, oklo.org coverage of the discovery is here, here, and here).

Prediction 2 falls just short of unambiguous fulfillment. HAT-P-13b is clearly going to exhibit transit timing variations, and soon, but as discussed in Bakos et al.’s discovery paper, it’s not clear whether they’ve already been observed.

Prediction 3 is satisfied by HAT-P-13b and c. The characterization is so good, in fact, that we’re able to effectively look inside HAT-P-13b.

Prediction 4 was doubly satisfied. First, by CoRoT-7b (a transiting super-Earth), and second, by GJ 1214b (a transiting sub-Neptune).

Prediction 5: 415 planets are listed (as of 12/31/2009) on exoplanet.eu…

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  1. December 31st, 2009 at 00:58 | #1

    And for 2010?

  2. Adam
    January 1st, 2010 at 04:26 | #2

    Nice accuracy. Better than a horoscope or a visit to the AstroPsychic… what are your per 5 minute rates? Should try stock markets too.

  3. TheoA
    January 4th, 2010 at 10:04 | #3

    One more reason to follow this blog meticulously.

  4. greg
    January 4th, 2010 at 21:14 | #4

    benelson — 2010? Fewer planets than 2009… Other than that, I’ll quit while I’m ahead.

    Adam — I would indeed hope that astronomers can best the astrologers when it comes to the number of planets in the house. As for the stock market, there’s a 31.7% chance that the SP500 index will differ by more than 20% from its current value.

    TheoA — thanks!

  5. TheoA
    January 5th, 2010 at 11:14 | #5

    HD 9446 has been announced as a multi planet system.

    Best of all, no transit search yet!

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