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Forum » SpaceEngine » Feedback and Suggestions » Innacuracies in Kepler exoplanet masses - they're too big! (Database used for exoplanets has slightly mis-used mass data)
Innacuracies in Kepler exoplanet masses - they're too big!
dissemblyDate: Thursday, 24.12.2015, 05:24 | Message # 1
Observer
Group: Users
Australia
Messages: 13
Status: Offline
Hi all,

Just a very low-priority request, because the workaround is very easy.

Each time I upgrade SpaceEngine, the first thing I do is go in and change the masses for a number of HZ Kepler worlds. The reason is that there seems to be a consistent error in the way mass estimates are included.

For example, the Kepler-62 system has two super-earths in or near the HZ (62e and 62f), and their masses in the program are listed as 36 and 35 Earth masses respectively, which is wildly unlikely - and leads to the program rendering these probably-terrestrial worlds as gas giants.

The reason seems to be that the Kepler exoplanet data is ported into the program automatically from some data file, and whatever data source is being used has the wrong masses in there.

The incorrect masses come from the published maximum mass estimates, i.e. the maximum mass that is physically possible to explain the data, which is a number that is not at all reflective of the likely or estimated mass. In fact, based on the radius (which is known with far greater certainty to be around 1.6 and 1.4 times Earth radius respectively), it seems almost impossible that these worlds would have masses 36 & 35 times the size of the Earth.

The tragedy of it is that some of SpaceEngine's power comes from its procedural generation - you can leave the masses blank and see what the program randomly decides to assign based on the radius information - but instead, poor quality data is included when it doesn't need to be.

I realise this would be a super-low priority change, but if it was possible to revise what data source is used, or maybe just revise a subset of them (say, just the most interesting Kepler planets), it might be cool.

The impact of this change is that a procedural, but realistic, Kepler planet appear in the vanilla SpaceEngine is better than having Neptunes scattered in place of worlds that, in real life, are potentially Earth-like.


Edited by dissembly - Thursday, 24.12.2015, 05:28
 
Forum » SpaceEngine » Feedback and Suggestions » Innacuracies in Kepler exoplanet masses - they're too big! (Database used for exoplanets has slightly mis-used mass data)
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