Thursday, November 28, 2013

New Star System Similar to Ours --“We Cannot Stress Just How Important This Discovery Is"

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A team of European astrophysicists has discovered the most extensive planetary system to date that orbit star KOI-351 – with seven planets, more than in other known planetary systems arranged in a similar fashion to the eight planets in the Solar System, with small rocky planets close to the parent star and gas giant planets at greater distances. Although the planetary system around KOI-351 is packed together more tightly, “We cannot stress just how important this discovery is. It is a big step in the search for a ‘twin’ to the Solar System, and thus also in finding a second Earth,” said Juan Cabrera, an astrophysicist at the DLR Institute of Planetary Research in Berlin-Adlershof.

KOI is the abbreviation for ‘Kepler Object of Interest’, which means the star was observed by NASA’s Kepler space telescope, between 2008 and 2013, and classified as a candidate for the existence of exoplanets. At present, KOI-351 is the star with the most extrasolar planets, or exoplanets for short. The star is 2500 light years away from Earth.

Astrophysicists around the world have been searching for a star system similar to our own for a long time. Now, the team led by Cabrera has taken a major step in this direction. Three of the seven planets in orbit around the star KOI-351 were discovered in recent years, and have periods of 331, 211 and 60 days, similar to those of Earth, Venus and Mercury. 
 
For the rest of the story: http://www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2013/11/new-star-system-similar-to-ours-discovered-we-cannot-stress-just-how-important-this-discovery-is.html

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