We present and discuss five candidate exoplanetary systems identified with the Kepler spacecraft. These five systems show transits from multiple exoplanet candidates. Should these objects prove to be planetary in nature, then these five systems open new opportunities for the field of exoplanets and provide new insights into the formation and dynamical evolution of planetary systems. We discuss the methods used to identify multiple transiting objects from the Kepler photometry as well as the false-positive rejection methods that have been applied to these data. One system shows transits from three distinct objects while the remaining four systems show transits from two objects. Three systems have planet candidates that are near mean motion commensurabilities-two near 2:1 and one just outside 5:2. We discuss the implications that multi-transiting systems have on the distribution of orbital inclinations in planetary systems, and hence their dynamical histories, as well as their likely masses and chemical compositions. A Monte Carlo study indicates that, with additional data, most of these systems should exhibit detectable transit timing variations (TTVs) due to gravitational interactions, though none are apparent in these data. We also discuss new challenges that arise in TTV analyses due to the presence of more than two planets in a system.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science