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The Planetary System Around the Sun-like Star HD 10180
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The Planetary System Around the Sun-like Star HD 10180 (Artist’s Impression)

August 29, 2010
This artist's impression shows the remarkable planetary system around the Sun-like star HD 10180. Observations with the HARPS spectrograph, attached to ESO's 3.6-meter telescope at La Silla, Chile, have revealed the definite presence of five planets and evidence for two more in orbit around this star. This system is similar to the Solar System in terms of number of planets and the presence of a regular pattern in the sizes of the orbits. If confirmed the closest planet detected would be the lightest yet known outside the Solar System, with a mass that could be only about 1.4 times that of the Earth.

The large crescent is the third world in the system (HD 10180d), which is comparable to the planet Neptune in mass. The two inner planets appear as silhouettes in transit across the bright disc of the star. The outer planets in the system appear in the background sky.


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