Kepler's Ongoing Exoplanet Findings Show Bizarre Solar Systems And Peculiar Planets

Wednesday, March 2, 2011 - 14:30 in Astronomy & Space

As astronomers continue mining data from the Kepler telescope, the planetary peculiarities keep on coming. We've already seen the smallest rocky world, 54 planets in a Goldilocks comfort zone around their stars, and even the possibility of planets sharing the same orbit. Add to that mix planetary resonance and superfast exoplanet "years." Last month, Kepler scientists announced a trove of 1,235 planetary candidates, at least 15 of which are definitely planets. Scientists are in the process of determining whether the rest of the objects are planets, too, or if they're binary stars or something else. So far, the Kepler "Objects of Interest" are pretty interesting. Take KOI 191, which involves four planets in unstable orbits. Jack Lissauer, a co-investigator for the Kepler mission at NASA's Ames Research Center, tells International Business Times the planets are probably in resonances that keep them in their places - orbits that cross each other but don't...

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