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Alien Solar System Has Tiny Spaced Planets and Unusual Orbits

Jul 26, 2016 06:11 AM EDT

The alien solar system called Kepler-80 was discovered to have a unique orbital behavior with tiny spaced planets.

Mariah MacDonald with Darin Ragozzine both from Florida Institute of Technology led the study on Kepler-80. The planetary structure of the solar system is a rare occurrence and the recent study greatly contributes to the understanding of Systems with Tightly-Spaced Inner Planets (STIPs). Researchers say that understanding the STIPs will also lead to a better understanding of the formation of the Earth. The findings of the study will be published in the Astronomical Journal.

Kepler-80 is located 1,100 light-years away from Earth and is named after the planet-hunting Kepler telescope by NASA. Five tiny planets that orbit their star in an uncomfortably close distance at 150 times smaller than Earth's orbit around the sun. But according to the study, the tightly-knit positions of the star allows the Kepler telescope to record changes in their behaviors in comparison to their "years" due to their mutual gravitational interactions. And due to their size, their years are also shorter and can be trimmed down to one, three, four, seven and nine days.

"The cool thing about this system is that all five orbits fit inside 1/10 AU," Mariah MacDonald in a statement.

Some of the planets in the tiny solar system have almost the same rocky composition as that of the Earth but four to six times bigger in terms of mass. But the two outermost planet is twice as big as the Earth, and it is attributed to their puffy hydrogen atmosphere. Researchers are confident of their findings because of the precise estimates of multiple planets in one alien planetary system that is usually rare.

The synchronized orbits of the planet are also unusual. "The outer four planets return to almost exactly the same configuration every 27 days," Ragozzine said in an interview with the Astrobiology Magazine.

The study also explains the origin of the synchronized orbits in space aside from the understanding of the compact composition of all the planets and the behavior of their orbits in the tiny alien solar system of Kepler-80.


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