Star KOI-500; Alien Solar System Discovered Around Star
on Oct 16, 2012 04:25 PM EDT
An alien solar system has been discovered tightly packed around the sun-like star KOI-500.
The system was discovered by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Kepler space telescope, according to Space.com. The scientists have released their findings of five planets which have been seen with a very close orbit to the bright star. The team behind the discovery is lead by Darin Ragozzine, a planetary scientist at the University of Florida at Gainesville.
On Oct. 15, the discovery was announced at the annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society's Division for Planetary Sciences in Reno, Nev. Research on the planets show their orbit is 12 times closer to KOI-500 than Earth's orbit to our own sun. The alien solar system is around 1,100 light-years away from Earth and each planet is only a little bigger than our world.
Ragozzine released a statement saying: "All five planets zip around their star within a region 150 times smaller in area than the Earth's orbit, despite containing more material than several Earths. At this rate, you could easily pack in 10 more planets, and they would still all fit comfortably inside the Earth's orbit."
Finding the solar system and KOI-500 will help scientists to theorize how compact systems such as this can be formed in the universe.
Ragozzine talked about the discovery and what it means for the future: "Learning about these systems will inspire a new generation of theories to explain why our solar system turned out so differently."
Since the Kepler observatory began operation in 2009 it's discovered around 2,000 stars with many having possible alien worlds within their orbit. Of the solar systems discovered, so far none have the same make up as our own.
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