Astronomers have discovered six planets orbiting in a rhythmic dance around a star 100 light-years from Earth, CNN reports.
An amazing discovery in a satellite galaxy – planets could form here
This rare discovery may provide clues about how our solar system formed.
The six exoplanets revolve around a bright star called HD110067, which resembles our sun and is located in the Perenican constellation, 100 light-years away. The planets are larger than Earth, but smaller than Neptune, and their orbits range from nine to 54 days.
What’s unique about this discovery is that the six planets move in what astronomers liken to a “perfectly synchronized symphony” or “rhythmic dance.” Specifically, patterns were seen in how the planets, which are named in the study by letters B through G, orbit around the star and exert their gravitational pull on each other.
Made it through untouched
The researchers found that when the closest planet B completed six revolutions in its orbit, the farthest planet G completed one revolution. When the C plane made three turns, the D plane made two turns. When Level E had completed four courses, Level F had done three. A rhythm that creates a kind of chain where the six planets are aligned at certain time intervals.
What is also unusual is that the planetary system has survived untouched since its formation more than a billion years ago. In most planetary systems, the original circadian orbits are not preserved, and scientists estimate that this is true in only 1% of cases.
Astronomers now want to further study the star HD110067 and its planets in detail in the hope that it will provide clues about how planetary systems, like our solar system, form and evolve.
The observations were made over a period of more than three years using two satellites, NASA’s TESS and the European Space Agency’s Khovs, and the results were published in the scientific journal Nature.
None of the discovered planets are located within the so-called habitable zone of the star, that is, at a distance that allows life to exist. As gas planets, they are thought to have cores of rock, metal or ice, surrounded by thick layers of hydrogen, but more observations are needed to answer what’s in their atmospheres, according to the researchers.
An exoplanet is a planet orbiting a star other than our Sun. The word is an abbreviation for exoplanet.
The first exoplanets were discovered in the 1990s. Initially, these were Jupiter-type gas giants that orbited closely around their stars. But over time, more and more Earth-like planets have been discovered that lie within the so-called habitable zone, that is, at a distance from their stars that makes it possible for life to exist.
Astronomers currently know of more than 5,000 exoplanets. They are all very far from Earth. With current technology, it would take a space probe thousands of years to reach them.
Source: Swedish Space Agency
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