Our solar system exhibits a remarkably orderly configuration: The eight planets orbit the sun much like runners on a track, circling in their respective lanes and always keeping within the same sprawling plane. In contrast, most exoplanets discovered in recent years — particularly the giants known as “hot Jupiters” — inhabit far more eccentric orbits. Now researchers at MIT, the University of California at Santa Cruz and other institutions have detected the first exoplanetary system, 10,000 light-years away, with regularly aligned orbits similar to those in our solar system. At the center of this faraway system is Kepler-30, a star as bright and massive as the sun. After analyzing data from NASA’s Kepler space telescope, the MIT scientists and their colleagues discovered that the star — much like the sun — rotates around a vertical axis and its three planets have orbits that are all in the same plane. Read more about this research on MITnews.
Sanchis-Ojeda Leads Research on First Exoplanetary System
August 9, 2012