Riled Up/Riled Up Archive/Article
Author: Hugh Bollinger/Thursday, February 2, 2017/Categories: natural history, video, space science, adventure
Watching Planets Orbit Another Star (credit: NASA Exoplanet Explorations)
For the first time, multiple planets orbiting another star has been visualized in motion around their Sun. An animation was created from repeated photographic observations captured over seven years and show the planets in extended orbits away from a young star, designated as HR-8799. The 4-planet solar system is still forming around the star from a cloud of dust and gas and have circular orbits.
According to NASA:
"The four planets are more massive than Jupiter. The movie is a composite of images taken over seven years at the Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea in Hawaii. The animation doesn’t show full orbits as the closest-in planet circles the star in ~40 years while the furthest takes more than 400 years to complete. Researchers at the University of California think that the four planets are in resonance with each other. In this case, it is a one-two-four-eight resonance, meaning that each planet has an orbital period in nearly precise ratio with the others in the system.
The star and solar system is 129 light-years away in the constellation of Pegasus and close to another star (51-Pegasi) where the first exoplanet was originally detected in 1995. HR-8799 is less than 60 million years old and is almost five times brighter than our Sun. The animation is based on multiple observations of the planets since 2009."
Impressive observational science!
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