Solar System

Using data from the Kepler space telescope, scientists have discovered a horde of six planets orbiting a sun-like star, approximately 2,000 light years from Earth. This is the largest group of planets detected so far around another star. The planets in this newly found solar system are relatively small – they range from 2.3 to 13.5 times the mass of the Earth – and are amazing mix of rock and gases. All six planets are crowded within an orbit the size of Venus’ orbit around our Sun; however, the inner five are closer to their star than any planet in our solar system.

“This is a surprisingly flat and compact system of six transiting planets,” said Jack Lissauer, co-investigator on the Kepler mission, speaking at a press conference on February 2, 2011. “The five inner planets are especially close together, something we didn’t think would happen for worlds of this size. This discovery forces us to go back and look at formation models of planets.” (…) Read the rest of Kepler Discovers 6-Planet Exo-Solar System (820 words)

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(C) nancy for Universe Today, 2011. | Permalink | 4 comments | Add to del.icio.us Post

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