Astronomers have identified one of the “richest” planetary systems discovered so far, which includes seven planets, informs bbc.co.uk. The discovery of the seventh planet around the dwarf star KIC 11442793 could be considered a record, said two different teams of researchers.
The new planetary system has some similarities with our solar system but all seven exoplanets orbit much closer to their host star, which is lie some 2,500 light-years from Earth.
One of the identification was carried out by a team of volunteers who used the Planet Hunters website. This site was set up to allow volunteers to “sift” through the public data provided by the Kepler space telescope, launched by NASA to search for exoplanets, worlds orbiting distant stars.
The Kepler telescope use the “transit method” to discover new planets, which consists of entails looking for the dip in light as an exoplanet passes in front of its host star.
However, there is too much data offered by the telescope so NASA’ scientists have no time to examine every light curve, for this reason, they developed computer programs to search for the signature of a planetary transit.
“This is the first solar system with seven planets discovered by Kepler using the transit method. We believe that the identification is secure”, said Chris Lintott from University of Oxford, co-author on the Planet Hunters paper.
The new exoplanet is the fifth furthest from its parent star, With a radius of 2.8 times that of the Earth and an orbit around its star of nearly 125 days.
While there might be resemblances to our solar system, all the seven planets are closer to their host star. In fact, they would all fit within the Earth’s distance from the Sun, which makes the new solar system very crowded.
However, the Planet Hunters team realized a series of computer simulations and concluded that the new solar system should be a stable one.
Scientists have previously announced that another star HD 10180 may have between seven and nine planets. Another distant star GJ 887C may also have a family of seven planets.