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From Kepler And Extra-Solar Planetary Observations

As of January 2015, Kepler and its follow-up observations had found 1,013 confirmed exoplanets in about 440 stellar systems, along with a further 3,199 unconfirmed planet candidates.

Regarding the above observations, and the data gained from any similar programs, do we currently have an idea of the distribution of planets, in terms of mass and distance from their sun's? In particular, for stars similar in mass to our Sun, are there hints that a similar pattern to our own solar system distribution of planets exists?

I appreciate that two factors that need to be taken into account before producing a model of a "typical" stellar planetary system are the mass of the star and the fact that our data to date is biased, as far as I know, in favour of large, Jupiter scale planets.

My apologies if the answer is: ask again in 10 years when we have more data and improved observational techniques and instrumentation.


marked as duplicate by user10851, Community Nov 3 '15 at 21:04

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  • $\begingroup$ It is still the case that light planets and more distant planets are relatively hard to find. The sample is biased toward heavy, close planets. That doesn't automatically mean the problem is intractable, but it does make it harder. $\endgroup$ – dmckee Nov 3 '15 at 19:21
  • $\begingroup$ Just a reminder from your Friendly Neighborhood Bayesian Statistician: the calculation and the confidence interval of the distribution depends only on the sample size and the moments (variance, mean, etc), and not on the total population size. $\endgroup$ – Carl Witthoft Nov 3 '15 at 19:41
  • $\begingroup$ For a long time I've meant to write up a good long answer to that post. Someone should pester me to do it. $\endgroup$ – user10851 Nov 3 '15 at 21:01

the answer is no: for now there is a high correlation between the properties of planets (size, distance to their star) and their probability to be detected, which totally bias the observed distribution.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks Fabrice, there is not a lot more to be said on this question, it was pure curiosity in the first place. $\endgroup$ – user81619 Nov 3 '15 at 21:02
  • $\begingroup$ I'ld have liked journalists and blog writers asked what you asked before writing km of silly "conclusions" ;-) $\endgroup$ – Fabrice NEYRET Nov 3 '15 at 22:33