Newly discovered solar system has scaled-down versions of Jupiter and Saturn

February 15th, 2008 - 12:18 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, Feb 15 (ANI): A team of international scientists has discovered a solar system nearly 5,000 light years away in our galaxy, that has scaled-down versions of Jupiter and Saturn.

Scientists found this solar system using the techniques of gravitational microlensing, supercomputer modeling and adaptive optics at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL).

The two new planets detected in the system were seen when the star they orbit crossed in front of a more distant star as seen from Earth.

Though the planets are about half the distance from their source star as Jupiter and Saturn are from our sun, they are the same distance apart as Jupiter and Saturn are to each other.

The new planets resemble a scaled-down version of our solar system, because the mass ratio, separation ratio and equilibrium temperatures are similar to those of Jupiter and Saturn. The planets’ masses are about 71 percent and 90 percent, respectively, of Jupiter and Saturn; their sun is about 50 percent the mass of our sun.

The overall picture that emerges out of the research is that the planetary system represents a scaled down version of our own solar system, with a less-massive sun.

“It looks more like our solar system than any other system we’ve seen so far,” said Bruce Macintosh, a Livermore author. “This system resembles our own and it has room in it for a planet like Earth,” he added.

“This is the first time something analogous to our solar system has been found,” said Kem Cook, one of three LLNL researchers on the team and a pioneer in gravitational microlensing.

“This indicates that our kind of planetary system is relatively common and that in and of itself is exciting,” he added. (ANI)

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