Feeds

Sun-like star HD10180 thought to have Earth-sized world

Seven-planet system orbits spaced much like ours

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Astroboffins probing the skies with a crafty instrument attached to a mighty telescope high in the Andes have found a sun very like our own - which they believe has a planet of similar size to Earth.

“We have found what is most likely the system with the most planets yet discovered,” says top sky-boffin Christophe Lovis. “We are now entering a new era in exoplanet research: the study of complex planetary systems and not just of individual planets."

The planetary system in question is that of the G-type, main sequence star (ie quite like our own Sun) HD10180, lying 127 lightyears away in the obscure southern constellation Hydrus*, between the Magellanic Clouds as seen from Earth.

HD10180 has now been confirmed to have five big, roughly Neptune-sized planets (say 5 to 13 times as massive as Earth) by measurements from the the High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS) spectrograph at La Silla in Chile. In addition, Lovis and his colleagues think that there are probably two more - a hefty Saturn-sized job (65 Earth masses) and one which if confirmed would be the smallest known exoplanet at 1.4 Earth masses.

The discovery of a planet not much bigger than Earth orbiting a star very like the Sun might at first seem to be one of trouser-moistening magnitude: but sadly HD10180a is thought to orbit a mere fiftieth of an Astronomical Unit from its star, meaning that it is far too hot to support life along the same lines as Earth. It is so close to HD10180 that its year lasts barely more than a terrestrial day.

Even so, the discovery of HD10180's planetary system does hold great news for alien-fanciers. The distribution of the system's seven possible planets - only one less than ours, as Pluto was never a proper planet in this sense - seems to follow a principle known as Bode's Law (or the Titius-Bode law), a rough rule predicting the spacing of planets from the Sun.

“This could be a signature of the formation process of these planetary systems,” says Lovis' fellow boffin Michel Mayor.

Though the HD10180 system doesn't appear to offer any homes for life, if Bode's Law applies across the galaxy it ought to mean more Earth-like, water bearing planets and so more aliens to meet/get invaded by and/or new worlds to colonise/invade once that pesky hyperdrive has been mastered.

Lovis and his colleagues' paper can be read by those advanced enough in boffinry to follow it here, free in pdf courtesy of the European Southern Observatory - operator of the HARPS. ®

Bootnote

*The male, or lesser, water snake. Not to be confused with the more famous and much bigger constellation Hydra.

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Most Americans doubt Big Bang, not too sure about evolution, climate change – survey
Science no match for religion, politics, business interests
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
LOHAN and the amazing technicolor spaceplane
Our Vulture 2 livery is wrapped, and it's les noix du mutt
Liftoff! SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts Dragon on third resupply mission to ISS
SpaceX snaps smartly into one-second launch window
Opportunity selfie: Martian winds have given the spunky ol' rover a spring cleaning
Power levels up 70 per cent as the rover keeps on truckin'
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Dragon capsule arrives at space station for Easter Sunday delivery
SpaceX reports Falcon booster made controlled touchdown in ocean
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.