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Astronomer finds planetary system larger than our own

Monday April 16, 2012 07:48:47 AM, IANS

London: An astronomer has found evidence that points to a planetary system larger than our own solar system, around the star named HD 10180.

Originally reported in 2010 to be orbited by seven planets, re-analysed data from the HARPS (High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher) now indicates that the star has nine planets.

Mikko Tuomi, from the University of Hertfordshire, carried out his analysis as part of the European Union research network RoPACS.

Located 130 light years away, the star is not within reach of foreseeable human space travel, but in astronomical distances, it is still considered to be in the solar neighbourhood.

This discovery is significant as most planetary systems discovered so far have far fewer planets, the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics reported.

The study verifies the existence of the previously announced seven planets and shows that there are likely to be two additional planets orbiting the star, said a university statement.

The two newly-detected signals are probably those of planets classified as hot super-Earths with orbital periods around the star of 10 and 68 days.

These new planets are closer to the star's surface than Earth is to the Sun which makes them too hot to be able to maintain water on their surfaces in its liquid form.

They have masses of 1.9 and 5.1 times that of our planet Earth which suggests that they are solid rocky bodies and make them among the smallest planets outside of our Solar system to be detected till date.



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