Kepler Telescope May Have Witnessed “Gravity Darkening” For First Time

ScienceNOW (2/1, Croswell, 128K) reports scientists “will report using the Kepler spacecraft to observe the brightness of a star in the constellation Cygnus more than a million times. … The world’s gravity raises the star’s surface away from its hot center, causing part of the surface to cool by just a fraction of a degree Kelvin and produce a dark spot that lags behind the planet’s position by a few hours.” The article notes this could be the first example of “planet-induced ‘gravity darkening'” ever observed if confirmed “and demonstrates Kepler’s remarkable ability to detect even the subtlest of stellar signals.”