Scientists may not be having much success in the search for extraterrestrial life, but astronomers seem to have no difficulty in picking up the presence of new planets. Specifically, an astronomer at the University of Hertfordshire has discovered the presence of multiple new planets surrounding the star HD 10180 — enough to give it the crown as the only solar system discovered to date with more planets than ours.
Astronomers calculated the presence of the planets by analyzing the gravitational pulls on the distant star HD 10180 with the High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS) telescope. The first batch of HD 10190's planets were discovered in 2010 and Neptune-sized, or about 13 to 25 times the size of Earth. The other, more recently discovered planets are closer in mass to our planet, though much closer to their sun distance-wise than Earth. The planets follow a regular motion around their sun similar to our own star system, with periods between 1.2 and 600 days.
In total, researchers have found nine planets, one more than our Solar System's eight. None of the planets in the 127 light-year away solar system appear to be capable of sustaining life — most are so close to the sun that their scorched surfaces can't even sustain solid metals.
[Image credit: ESO]
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