Scientists find sun-like star with seven planets

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Geneva, Aug 26: Seems like Earth is set to greet a parallel universe, so to speak, as scientists have found a solar sytem-like organisation of a sun-like star with as many as seven different planets.

Among the seven new planets, the scientists have identified the smallest ever planet found outside the solar system, where Earth dwells.

Scientists announced their findings on Tuesday, Aug 24 at an international conference in France.

Most of the 'exoplanets' (planets found outside the solar system) identified are large, about 13 to 25 times the mass of our home planet, said those behind the discovery.

The scientists are nearly certain they've identified one planet only 1.4 times the size of Earth and this would be the smallest one ever spotted.

The new planetary system is around HD 10180, a star more than 100 light years distant.

If the findings are confirmed, this discovery would be the richest ever.

"The really nice thing about finding systems like this is that it shows that there are many more out there," Alan Boss, of the Washington-based Carnegie Institution for Science, who wasn't involved in the discovery is quoted as saying in a news agency report.

Besides being one of the biggest findings ever, the new planetary system will also add to the growing body of evidence that the universe is full of planets and that several could be similar to our own.

"Mother Nature really had fun making planets," remarked Boss.

Scientists have been searching for exoplanets since 15 years and have so far catalogued about 450.

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