Kepler Circumbinary Planets
William Welsh



While long anticipated in both science and science fiction, the discovery of a planet orbiting a pair of normal stars was not conclusively demonstrated until the discovery of Kepler-16 in 2011. The planet in the Kepler-16 system transits over both its host stars, which not only helped prove its existence, but allowed an exquisitely accurate determination of its mass and radius. Kepler-16 generated many questions about the nature of circumbinary planets: What kinds of orbits, masses, radii, temperatures, etc., could they have? What kinds of binary stars can host planets? And most of all, was Kepler-16 just a fluke? Since 2011, seven more transiting Kepler circumbinary planets have been discovered, establishing a new class of planets. Each system has revealed an important new facet, and while still few in number the sample is now large enough that some intriguing trends are emerging. In this talk I will discuss the discovery and characterization of the Kepler circumbinary planets.