Astrophysicists at the European Southern Observatory have discovered a strange planetary system of six celestial bodies: it has changed scientists’ ideas about the formation of planets.
Using several telescopes, in particular the largest European Southern Observatory (ESO VLT), astronomers have discovered a system consisting of six exoplanets, five of which revolve around the central one. Researchers believe that this system will explain how planets form and develop, including in the solar system.
Observing the star TOI-178, located about 200 light-years away in the constellation Sculptor, astronomers have noticed two strange objects orbiting the star.
It turned out that these are planets. Continuing their observations, scientists found out that the planets revolve around the star with almost the same rhythm and almost the same distance. Astrophysicist Adrian Leleu from the University of Geneva says that later it turned out that not two planets revolve around the star, but five at once.
A new study has shown that a planetary system could include six exoplanets at once. Each of the five exoplanets, except for the one closest to the center, moves in their own orbits, in other words, they are in resonance. This means that there are patterns that repeat as the planets rotate.
A similar resonance is observed in the orbits of the three satellites of Jupiter: Io, Europa and Ganymede. Io, the closest of the three to Jupiter, makes four complete revolutions around Jupiter for each orbit that Ganymede, the farthest one, and two complete revolutions for each orbit that Europa makes.