Alien Star System Discovered With 8 Planets [VIDEO]

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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.

With the discovery of an eighth planet, the Kepler-90 system is the first to tie with our solar system in number of planets.
Credits: NASA/Wendy Stenzel

However it is not as hospitable as our beloved Earth, “Kepler-90i is not a place I’d like to go visit,” NASA says. “The surface is likely scorching hot, we calculated that it probably has an average temperature of about 800 degrees Fahrenheit.”

Interestingly enough NASA used novel approach to sort through the massive amounts of data Kepler has accumulated. They brought in Google’s AI expert. His name is Chris Shallue and he used neural networks to filter through the Kepler data using a neural network offered a far more powerful algorithm.

“I became interested in applying neural networks to astronomy when I learned that the Kepler mission had collected so much data that it was impossible for scientists to examine it all manually,” he says. “Our idea was to turn this technique to the skies and teach a machine learning system how to identify planets around faraway stars.”

No doubt other planets have been found, but remain far!