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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

HD 10180

Scientists have discovered a planetary system containing at least five planets orbiting a star called HD 10180. What makes HD10180 interesting is that it is "similar" to our own sun.

The scientists used the European Southern Observatory to monitor light emitted from the system and identify and characterise the planets.

Eso's High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher instrument was responsible for the discovery. This measures the wobble of a star - this gives a measurement of how much it is being tugged on by an orbiting planet.

Dr Christope Lovis of Geneva University said:
If there is one planet it will induce a little movement - the star will come towards us and move away

And what works for one [planet] works for many.

The five planets are about the size of Neptune. Two other "fuzzier" signals were detected. One of these was estimated to be 1.4 times the mass of Earth.

I find the discovery of these planets fascinating, the idea that there might be life out there is both exciting and just a bit scary!

1 comment:

avalon said...

very interesting and as you say fascinating there will be something found eventually but probably not life as we know it, and not in our life time i think.
and if we can search that far out who knows if other beings are coming from the other way !!