NASA has just announced the discovery of an Alien Star System with 8 planets tying our own solar system – here’s why. In case you need a reminder our solar system has 9 planets or does it? The International Astronomical Union has debated the issue extensively, and there is some disagreement. For instance, they discussed whether to include Eris – the icy object discovered by Mike Brown in 2005 – as a planet or not. They decided not – and technically by the standards they used Pluto doesn’t qualify either! But for most us we accept what we learned when you grew up. As kids, memorizing this list: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto used to qualify, but International Astronomical Union has determined it no longer does! So our own system has 8 planets!
What makes this relevant is that Kepler NASA’s planet-hunting telescope, has found an Alien Star System much like our own. “Kepler has already shown us that most stars have planets,” NASA’s Paul Hertz said during a press conference revealing the discovery. ”Today, Kepler confirms that stars can have large families of planets, just like our solar system.”
A newfound planet, Kepler-90i, was hidden in the mountains of data gathered by NASA’s Kepler spacecraft. It joins a family of seven other planets all circling the same star located roughly 2,500 light-years away. The Kepler-90 system – as NASA calls it – therefore ties our own solar system for hosting the most known worlds. Imagine that! Our planetary family now has a cousin.
Kepler-90i is slightly bigger than Earth and with a year that lasts just two Earth-weeks, this planet is also the third rock from its sun, a star that’s a bit bigger and hotter than the sun. Two similarly small planets circle the star closer than Kepler-90i which makes it 3rd from the sun just like Earth, and interestingly the planets get progressively bigger the further they get from it’s sun.