NASA has discovered the eighth planet of a star system, similar to our solar system. The star, Kepler-90 is over 2,500 light years away and larger and hotter than our sun. It is the first star known to have as many planets as our solar system.
The Kepler-90 star system is much more compact than our solar system. The outermost planet orbits the star at about the same distance as the earth orbits the sun. its inner planets are small and rocky while the outer ones are larger and made up of gas
The newly discovered planet, Kepler -90i, is the third celestial object in the star system. It is probably rocky and similar to our earth, but because of its closeness to its home star has an average surface temperature of about 400° C. It moves around the star once every 14.4 days.
The discovery was made based on data provided by the Kepler space telescope. Launched in March 2009, the telescope has constantly been scanning certain sections of the universe in search of new stars and planetary systems. Up to now, over 2,000 new worlds have been discovered.
To help analyse the data NASA has been relying on artificial intelligence software supplied by Google. This software examines weak signals of light when objects pass in front of a star. The new way of examining data is expected to reveal even more new planets in the future.
- artificial intelligence = when computers do intelligent things that only people can do, such as think and make their own decisions
- average = normal, usual
- based on = use
- celestial = about the sky
- closeness = being close to something
- compact = here: the planets are closer together and near to the star
- constantly = always
- data = information
- discover = to find something for the first time
- distance = the amount of space between two objects
- examine = look at something closely
- launch = to send an object into space
- light year = the distance light travels in one year = 9,460,000,000,000 km
- orbit = to go around
- outermost = the farthest away from something
- planetary system = star with planets moving around it
- provide = give
- rely = depend on; need
- reveal = to show something that was not known before
- rocky = covered with or made of rocks; here: a hard surface
- scan = when a machine looks at things carefully but quickly
- similar = like
- solar system = our sun and the eight planets that move around it
- surface temperature = temperature you get when you stand on the planet
- weak = not strong