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An exceptional announcement: the discovery of 7 planets orbiting a sun-like star

An exceptional announcement: the discovery of 7 planets orbiting a sun-like star

Scientists have just announced a system of 7 planets, called Kepler-385, orbiting a sun-like star. the details

A seven-planet system has been discovered through ongoing study of NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope data (mission completed): Each is bathed in the heat of its parent star, more than any planet in our solar system. Furthermore, the seven planets in this system (exoplanets), called Kepler-385, are larger than Earth but smaller than Neptune. It is one of the few known planetary systems with more than six confirmed planets or planet candidates.

In the middle is a star that looks like the sun

At the center of the Kepler-385 system is a Sun-like star, about 10% larger and 5% hotter than the Sun, and the two inner planets are likely rocky and may have a thin atmosphere. The other five planets are larger, each with a radius about twice that of Earth, and are thought to be surrounded by a thick atmosphere. The ability to describe the properties of the Kepler-385 system in such detail is a testament to the quality of the latest exoplanet catalogue. This study focuses on producing a comprehensive list that provides accurate information about each system, making discoveries like Kepler-385 possible.

Technical representation of the system Kepler-385. Image credit: NASA/Daniel Rutter

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A new way to find planets

The new catalog uses improved measurements of stellar properties and more accurately calculates the path of each planet passing through its host star. This combination shows that when a star hosts multiple transiting exoplanets, they typically have more circular orbits than if the star hosts only one or two.

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Future studies

Initial Kepler observations stopped in 2013, but data collected by the space telescope are still revealing new discoveries about… Our galaxy. With the mission already showing us that there are more planets than stars, this new study paints a more detailed picture of what each of these planets and their source systems look like. Giving us a better view of the many worlds outside our solar system.