Exoplanet Disposition - What does "confirmed" mean?

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Exoplanet Disposition - What does "confirmed" mean?

Post by Sirius_Alpha on 26th August 2013, 9:21 pm

With the inclination degeneracy for radial velocity, planets discovered with Doppler spectroscopy are perhaps best thought of as candidate planets. Some planets with m sin i close to the deuterium fusion limit (let's leave aside whether or not that is a good dividing line between planets and brown dwarfs) have a fairly high probability of being brown dwarfs or even low mass stars.

It seems to me that this probability for some of these planets is higher than the probability that some of the transiting planet candidates from Kepler are not planets, but false positives (though I admit it may be hard to pin down the probability of the latter in a specific case a priori). However, we don't consider the KOI candidates "confirmed," but rather "candidates."

So what exactly do we mean by "confirmed" and "candidate?" In a strict sense, it may be that the only confirmed extrasolar planets are those where we have an independent mass determination (perhaps an astrometric detection, or transits with complementary RV data). If that's the case, we have far fewer confirmed exoplanets than is commonly said to be the case.

I realise the Kepler team have their own system of Candidate vs Validated vs Confirmed for KOIs, but I'm looking for some more generalised definitions that we can all agree upon.

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