Possible Disintegrating Short-Period Super-Mercury
"The bizarre nature of the light output from this star with its precisely periodic transit-like features and highly variable depths exemplifies how Kepler is expanding the frontiers of science in unexpected ways," said Jon Jenkins, Kepler co-investigator at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, Calif. "This discovery pulls back the curtain of how science works in the face of surprising data."
Astrophysical Journal article (by S. Rappaport et al) abstract excerpt: We report here on the discovery of stellar occultations, observed with Kepler, that recur periodically at 15.685 hour intervals, but which vary in depth from a maximum of 1.3% to a minimum that can be less than 0.2%. ... they cannot be due solely to transits of a single planet with a fixed size. ...We come down in favor of an explanation that involves macroscopic particles escaping the atmosphere of a slowly disintegrating planet not much larger than Mercury. ...The occultation profile ...could reflect a comet-like dust tail trailing the planet; we present simulations of such a tail.
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