Two Planets Found Sharing One Orbit

Two Planets in One OrbitIt really is a strange universe out there. Marcus Chown writes in New Scientist:

Buried in the flood of data from the Kepler telescope is a planetary system unlike any seen before. Two of its apparent planets share the same orbit around their star. If the discovery is confirmed, it would bolster a theory that Earth once shared its orbit with a Mars-sized body that later crashed into it, resulting in the moon’s formation.

The two planets are part of a four-planet system dubbed KOI-730. They circle their sun-like parent star every 9.8 days at exactly the same orbital distance, one permanently about 60 degrees ahead of the other. In the night sky of one planet, the other world must appear as a constant, blazing light, never fading or brightening.

Gravitational “sweet spots” make this possible. When one body (such as a planet) orbits a much more massive body (a star), there are two Lagrange points along the planet’s orbit where a third body can orbit stably. These lie 60 degrees ahead of and 60 degrees behind the smaller object. For example, groups of asteroids called Trojans lie at these points along Jupiter’s orbit.

Read More in New Scientist

10 Comments on "Two Planets Found Sharing One Orbit"

  1. justagirl | Feb 27, 2011 at 12:52 am |

    9.8 days!!?! adorable!!!! 🙂

  2. justagirl | Feb 26, 2011 at 8:52 pm |

    9.8 days!!?! adorable!!!! 🙂

  3. FREEK power ULTD. | Feb 27, 2011 at 5:00 am |

    Velikovsky !!!

  4. FREEK power ULTD. | Feb 27, 2011 at 1:00 am |

    Velikovsky !!!

  5. Not for long they won’t

  6. Not for long they won’t

  7. Bindi Papadum | Feb 28, 2011 at 4:23 am |

    not bloody likely….

  8. Bindi Papadum | Feb 28, 2011 at 12:23 am |

    not bloody likely….

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