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Image: Kepler-11 is a small, cool star around which six planets orbit.
2011 Feb 2: Kepler-11 is a small, cool star around which six planets orbit
02/02/2011

At times, two or more planets pass in front of the star at once, as shown in this artist's conception of a simultaneous transit of three planets observed by NASA's Kepler spacecraft on Aug. 26, 2010. "Kepler-11 is a remarkable system whose architecture and dynamics provide clues about its formation," said Jack Lissauer, a planetary scientist and Kepler science team member at Ames. "These six planets are mixtures of rock and gases, possibly including water. The rocky material accounts for most of the planets' mass, while the gas takes up most of their volume. By measuring the sizes and masses of the five inner planets, we determined they are among the lowest mass confirmed planets beyond our solar system." See also: News Release of 2011 Feb 2 (NASA Finds Earth-size Planet Candidates in Habitable Zone, Six Planet System)

Credit: NASA/Tim Pyle

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