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NASA's Kepler Space Telescope detected 1,235 alien planet candidates in its first four months of operation. Of those, 408 reside in multiple-planet systems, suggesting that our own configuration of multiple worlds orbiting a single star isn't so special. What may be special, however, is the orientation of our solar system's planets. Some of them are tilted significantly off the solar system's plane, while most of the Kepler systems are nearly as flat as a tabletop, researchers said.
The Kepler spacecraft launched in March 2009, tasked with searching for Earth-size alien planets in their stars' habitable zones — that just-right range of distances that can support liquid water. Kepler finds these distant worlds by searching for tiny, telltale dips in a star's brightness that occur when a planet transits — or crosses in front of — it from Earth's perspective. The 1,235 candidate planets detected so far still need to be confirmed by follow-up studies, though researchers estimate at least 80 percent of them will pan out.
In our solar system, some planet orbits are tilted by up to 7 degrees, meaning that an alien astronomer looking for transits wouldn’t be able to detect all eight planets. In particular, they would miss Mercury and Venus, researchers said. The planetary systems spotted by Kepler have orbits tilted less than 1 degree, they added.
These multiplanet systems are probably so flat because they lack Jupiter-size giant planets, whose gravitational influence can disrupt planetary systems, tilting the orbits of neighboring worlds, researchers said. "Jupiters are the 800-pound gorillas stirring things up during the early history of these systems," Latham said. "Other studies have found plenty of systems with big planets, but they’re not flat."
As Kepler continues to gather data, it will be able to spot planets with wider orbits, including some in the habitable zones of their stars. Transit timing variations may play a key role in confirming the first rocky planets in their stars' habitable zones, researchers said.
Originally posted by Mythos13
One theory why our planets are not in line with the rest of the galaxy is that Earth was actually part of the Sagittarius Dwarf galaxy. And our galaxy collided with the milky way.
We are not from here
It is remarkable that the Sun presently lies within a
kiloparsec of the Sgr debris plane (MSWO). The pole of
the plane, (lp, bp) = (272,-12) degrees, means that the line of
nodes of its intersection with the MW plane is almost
coincident with the XGC axis. Thus (Fig. 2) the motions
of Sgr stars within this plane are almost entirely con-
tained in their Galactic U and W velocity components,
whereas the V motions of stars in the Sgr tidal tails al-
most entirely reflect solar motion.
Originally posted by Heartisblack
Doctor who is looking more realistic every day!
Originally posted by Mythos13
reply to post by ngchunter
I Actually first read the story on Discovery News, but i was too lazy to go look it up, and used a different source. The story is real, not a hoax.