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Space Science

Nearby Star May Have More Planets Than Our Solar System 102

The Bad Astronomer writes "HD 10180 is a near-twin of the Sun about 130 light years away. It's known to have at least six planets orbiting it, but a new analysis of the data shows clear indications of three more, for a total of nine! This means HD 10180 has more planets than our solar system. And whether you think Pluto is a planet or not, all nine of these aliens worlds have masses larger than Earth's, putting them firmly in the 'planet' category."
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Nearby Star May Have More Planets Than Our Solar System

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  • Re:HD 10180 Nearby? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Grayhand ( 2610049 ) on Friday April 06, 2012 @06:50PM (#39602857)

    When did 130 ly become nearby? Did someone invent a FTL drive while I wasn't paying attention?

    Light coming from it is only a 130 years old not millions or billions of years old. I think the general unspoken idea of nearby is that they may still have the same technology if there were intelligent life that they did a 130 years ago so there's the potential for contact if a civilization was detected. There is a likely window of a few hundred years to a few thousand years where contact would be possible. There is no set standard for nearby but I think that would be the closest I could come, any star with the potential for contact. 130 light years is definitely in that range and with multiple large planets it'd be a solid candidate for life.

  • by symbolset ( 646467 ) * on Friday April 06, 2012 @10:57PM (#39604185) Journal

    Well, they do unless they're binary stars where the planets were so huge they condensed into a star. And the planets go from so close they're in danger of being consumed, to so far out that the the material they would have been made of was flung out of the stellar system instead - in orbits of the maximum closeness that you couldn't fit another planetary orbit between them. Since every reasonable sized star has a habitable zone, and given the distribution of mass, between 2 and 4 planets have to be in it. Time makes the orbits regular. If the planet in the right spot is too large for Men, it will have a moon of the appropriate size.

    This is obvious from the distribution of prestellar masses and the forces that cause stars and planets to form. Who doesn't know this? It's Bode's Law.

    See those stars in the sky? They have planets. All of them, near enough as makes no difference. And all of them have planets where liquid water could form. And water is so common that there is water on all of them. And so the Fermi Paradox becomes more intriguing. The stars in the sky where Men cannot live are passing rare - if we can get there.

    Let's go already.

Houston, Tranquillity Base here. The Eagle has landed. -- Neil Armstrong