New multi planet solar systems found

| 30/08/2010

(CNET): NASA’s Kepler spacecraft, hunting for distant worlds by measuring the slight dimming of starlight as planets pass in front of their parentsuns, has found its first multiplanet solar system. The Kepler-9 system includes two Saturn-class worlds orbiting in gravitational lockstep close to their star and a possible third planet just a bit larger than Earth that whirls through a hellish "year" in just 1.8 days. The announcement came just a few days after a European team, using a different technique with a ground-based telescope, revealed the discovery of a solar system with up to seven planets, including another candidate planet slightly larger than Earth.

The combined results demonstrate a steadily improving ability to detect Earth-size worlds across vast gulfs of space, raising hopes than within a few years, scientists will know whether Earth-like planets are common or rare.
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