More Space Studies in Spare Time!

August 29, 2010 at 9:39 PM (Uncategorized)

As studies of the universe continue, more and more exciting discoveries are being made.  A latest round of information reveals that astronomers have been successful with locating a planetary system that is nearly similar to our own. This increases the promising potential of locating familiar settings beyond our Earth!

At a distance that measures to about 127 light years away, the star HD 10180 exists.  This star has been studied as being very similar to The Sun.  It is found within the Hydrus constellation.

HD 10180 is standing out because of the planets that orbit it.  So far, five planets have been found within this system.  Astronomical studiers are currently verifying whether or not there are two more planets that possibly orbit this star, bringing the total to seven.  If there are seven planets orbiting HD 10180, that would be the largest amount of planets found to orbit a star outside of our own solar system!

These planets take orbits that are nearly circular, like those of our system.  Astronomers have been studying this distant region of space by using The HARPS Planet Searcher of the European Southern Observatory telescope that is stationed at La Silla Paranal Observatory in Chile.  The findings of this particular solar system have revealed several interesting details.

As what seems to be the norm outside of our solar system, these planets are racing around their star.  The planets orbit HD10180 at rates that range from six Earth days to six hundred Earth days.  Observations have revealed that these planets are sized roughly around that of Neptune, with one likely as large as Saturn, and another that could be equally-sized to Jupiter.   The planet that has been observed as Saturn-sized orbits HD10180 within 1.18 Earth days!

So far, fifteen star systems have been identified, outside of our own, that have three or more planets within them.  Before the HD10180 system was located, the 55 Cancri system had the largest amount of planets.  Five planets have been found within orbits around 55 Cancri, a binary star system that is roughly forty-one light years from our Earth.  Very exciting…..

The planetary system around the Sun-like star HD 10180 (artist’s impression)



planete.gif (10891 bytes)     In the second part of the artist's animation, we fly out to see 55 Cancri's habitable zone (green) and the orbits of its planets compared to our own.     planete.gif (10891 bytes)






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