Friday | January 19, 2018
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Research finds planets have similar size

Like peas in a pod, planets that form together tend to have similar size and spacing, observations by the W.M. Keck Observatory revealed.

That conclusion by an international team of researchers was a result of using the Maunakea telescope to observe 909 planets in 355 different star systems between 1,000 and 4,000 light years away.

Their work shows that our own solar system might be a bit unusual since the inner planets have large spaces between their orbits and come in diverse sizes. That could be a result of Jupiter and Saturn disturbing the solar system’s early structure.

“That planets in most systems are still similarly sized and regularly spaced suggests that perhaps they have been mostly undisturbed since their formation,” Keck said in a press release.

The observed planets were discovered by the Kepler space telescope, which has mostly identified planets orbiting close to their star.

Keck said the researchers hope to eventually see if there are Jupiter-like planets at large orbital distances in those systems.

 

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