Discovering planets dancing in space
Researchers have spotted a bewildering group of 6 exoplanets moving in a rhythmic dance as they orbit around their star in a system 200 light-years from Earth.
Astronomers at the University of St. Andrews found that 5 of the six planets are locked in a harmonic rhythm, as their orbits coincide in a constant pattern with each other, which the team says does not indicate that major collisions occurred when the system was first formed.
The exoplanets of the TOI-178 system “ring” the latest kind of harmony as the orbital periods of the planets attract each other.
Some regularly, and the density of planets in the system is extraordinary – in the Solar System, dense, rocky planets are closer to the Sun, followed by giants of lighter gas.
And there is a dense, Earth-like planet next to an extremely thin planet at half the density of Neptune – followed by a planet similar to Neptune, with its unusual design and orbital resonance “challenging what we know about how planetary systems formed,” according to the team behind the discovery.
A planetary system can form an echo – a kind of harmony between the orbits and the gravity of the planets within that system.