Scientists studying the data obtained with NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope have detected an eighth planet orbiting the star Kepler-90 using artificial intelligence.
Researchers described the details of the eighth planet referred to as Kepler-90i in a forthcoming paper, which will be published in the Astronomical Journal.
The finding sets a new high for the most exoplanets found orbiting just one star and makes the planetary system a competitor of the solar system in terms of the total number of known planets. The Kepler-90 system also shows that other stars can support as many planets as the solar system.
“Kepler has already shown us that most stars have planets,” NASA’s Director of Astrophysics Divisions, Paul Hertz said. “Today Kepler confirms that stars can have large families of planets just like our solar system.”
The discovery has also shown the crucial part played by machine-learning processes and neural networks in the search for exoplanets.
Kepler-90 System Is Similar To The Solar System
Kepler-90i is the third planet from its star just like the Earth. It is, however, located closer to the host star and completes an orbit in 14.4 days. The Kepler-90 is sun-like star located in the constellation Draco, which is 2,545 light years away. The Kepler-90 system has similarities with the solar system.
The small rocky planets in the planetary system are located nearer to its sun just like Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars are closer to the sun. Similarly, the larger and more gaseous planets in the Kepler-90 system are farther away from the parent star, quite similar to the relation between Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, and Uranus with the sun.
Researchers think the bigger planets are located farther away from their star because it is, literally, a cool location. For instance, in the solar system itself, the outer planets formed in the solar system’s cooler part because this is where ice can remain solid and clump together to make more massive planets. The same process could be true for the Kepler-90 system.
Kepler-90 System Vs Solar System
The Kepler-90 exoplanet system, however, is different from the solar system in at least one noticeable way. All the eight known planets have a closer orbit to their host star than the Earth has to the sun, taking 365 days to complete one full round.
The researchers still do not know why the planetary system has such a crowded field. However, they have suggested that a few of the exoplanets might have formed out at a farther distance but gradually were drawn inward.
Apparently, the close proximity of the exoplanets to Kepler-90 shows that they are extremely hot. Scientists think the temperature of Kepler-90i itself is around 800 degrees Fahrenheit, which indicates that it is not a habitable planet.