Distant Star May Have Nine Planets

Maybe we should have kept Pluto! A star 127 light-years away shows evidence of having a record (as far as we know) nine planets revolving around it. The star is designated as HD 10180, in the southern constellation Hydrus. The discovery is the culmination of ten years of data crunching. See, we can't see these planets.
Instead, astronomers detected the planets by measuring their gravitational tugs on the host star using the High Accuracy Planet Searcher (HARPS) instrument on the European Southern Observatory's 3.6-meter telescope at La Silla, Chile.

The five established planets are between 12 and 25 times the mass of Earth and are all around the sizes of Uranus or Neptune, meaning the worlds are most likely icy gas giants.

Of the two newly confirmed planets, one is about 65 times the mass of Earth, and it orbits farther beyond the main group. The other planet is a super-Earth 1.3 times the mass of our home world that circles very close to the host star.

The two new, unconfirmed planets also have tight orbits: A planet thought to be 1.9 times the mass of Earth completes its orbit in 10 days, while the other world is likely 5.1 Earth masses with an orbit lasting 68 days.

Scientists believe the planets, if they actually exist, are too close to the star to ever support life. Link

(Unrelated image credit: NASA)

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