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ScienceShot: Neighboring Solar System Resembles Ours

24 August 2010 1:13 pm
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Astronomers have found the most populous alien solar system yet—and it looks a bit like ours. In a study published this month in Astronomy & Astrophysics, researchers say they have confirmed five new planets orbiting HD 10180, a star located only 127 light-years away in the southern constellation Hydrus. The team made the observations by tracking subtle changes in the wavelengths of the solar system's sun, caused when the planets gravitationally tug on the star. They've also uncovered evidence for two more bodies: a Saturn-sized world and an Earth-sized, rocky world, which, if verified, would have the smallest mass of any extrasolar planet yet found. But don't book spaceship passage just yet. That planet orbits 3 million kilometers from its star, just 1/20th of the distance of Mercury from our sun.

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