ForexTV NewsDesk | July 27 2012 10:48 EDT
ForexTV.com (New York) by Timothy Kelly
NASA's Keplar Space telescope have enable MIT researchers to identify the first exoplanetary system, roughly 10,000 light years from earth. The alien solar system is quite similar to our own. At the center of the Keplar solar system is a massive star called Keplar-30 that is very similar to our own sun. MIT scientists, along with other researchers have also observed that Keplar-30 rotates around a vertical axis and also contains three planets with orbits on similar planes.
"In our solar system, the trajectory of the planets is parallel to the rotation of the sun, which shows they probably formed from a spinning disc", according to the MIT researchers, led by Roberto Sanchis-Ojeda, the lead researcher and MIT graduate student.
Josh Winn, a professor of physics at MIT and co-author of the research says of the discovery, "it's telling me that [our own] solar system isn't some fluke. The fact that the sun's rotation is lined up with the planets' orbits, that's probably not some freak coincidence."
The following is an excerpt from the Keplar research project at NASA:
Hot Jupiters orbits are typically off-kilter, and scientists have thought that such misalignments might be a clue to their origins: Their orbits may have been knocked askew in the very early, volatile period of a planetary system's formation, â€¦ But to really prove this "planetary scattering" theory, Winn says researchers have to identify a non-hot Jupiter system, one with planets circling farther from their star. If the system were aligned like our solar system, with no orbital tilt, it would provide evidence that only hot Jupiter systems are misaligned, formed as a result of planetary scattering.
In order to resolve the puzzle, Sanchis-Ojeda looked through data from the Kepler space telescope, on Kepler-30, a non-hot Jupiter system with three planets, all with much longer orbits than a typical hot Jupiter. To measure the alignment of the star, Sanchis-Ojeda tracked its sunspots, dark splotches on the surface of bright stars like the sun.
"These little black blotches march across the star as it rotates", Winn says. "If a planet crosses a dark sunspot, the amount of light blocked decreases, creating a blip in the data dip. From the data blips, Sanchis-Ojeda concluded that Kepler-30 rotates along an axis perpendicular to the orbital plane of its largest planet. The researchers then determined the alignment of the planets orbits by studying the gravitational effects of one planet on another. By measuring the timing variations of planets as they transit the star, the team derived their respective orbital configurations, and found that all three planets are aligned along the same plane. The overall planetary structure, Sanchis-Ojeda found, looks much like our solar system.
The findings from this first study of the alignment of a non-hot Jupiter system suggest that hot Jupiter systems may indeed form via planetary scattering
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