24 Jun 2011

New solar system found!

NASA's Kepler space telescope has picked up multiple planets in a system with a star much like the sun, the largest group of transiting planets yet discovered.
The system is very different from the one we call home. The star, about 2,000 light years away, is very much like the sun, but the planets around are in fast, tight orbits. One takes as little as ten days. Five of the six are closer to their sun than Mercury is to ours.
Many of the solar systems discovered have been the homes of Jupiter-sized planets in eccentric orbits. Those types of systems are much easier to see, because a big planet's effects on the parent star are more visible. Kepler is designed to seek out planets closer in size and mass to Earth.
In this case, Kepler found six planets, all of them transiting the face of the star, called Kepler-11. The planets, in order of their distance from the star, are Kepler-11b, 11c, 11d, 11e, 11f and 11g. Kepler 11b is at about 9 million miles from its sun. The outermost one is on the order of 45 million miles out.

No comments:

Post a Comment