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BALTIMORE - Of the more than 130 planets found around distant stars, a large number have highly elliptical orbits, crazy oblong shapes that have surprised theorists who try to explain the configurations with near collisions or perturbing disks of gas.
An elliptic orbit is characterized by the eccentricity, which is how much a planet's distance from its star varies as it carves out a year. Most of the planets in our solar system have relatively low eccentricities, less than about 5 percent (tiny Pluto being a notable exception and considered not really a planet by some astronomers).
By contrast, the average eccentricity of extrasolar planets is about 25 percent. And these are not Plutos. They are typically more massive than Jupiter.
"The eccentricities are the most remarkable thing about these planets," said Geoff Marcy of the University of California, Berkeley, during a meeting here last week at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI). The conference was set up to celebrate 10 years of successful exoplanet hunting.
Originally posted by they see ALL
what could be the culprit???