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Similar Solar System

September 20, 2010

Scientists have discovered the closest thing yet to our solar system.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):
A similar solar system…I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Scientists have discovered hundreds of planets beyond our solar system. But now, researchers using the European Southern Observatory’s HARPS telescope have found a solar system that’s nearly as planet-packed as ours. University of Geneva astrophysicist Christoph Lovis says that star HD1080, 127 light-years away, is orbited by at least five Neptune-sized planets, and probably two more tiny ones.

CHRISTOPH LOVIS (University of Geneva, Switzerland):
And we have five of them in a compact configuration, close to the star, and this is also kind of unexpected, to find so many planets so close to the star.

HIRSHON:
Lovis says there’s no Earth-like candidate for life here, because none of the planets are the right distance from their Sun. But only the latest technology made it possible to detect these modest-sized planets at all. Now, his team hopes to start mapping hundreds of other solar systems, to figure out just how typical ours is. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.