The Super Earths
01- K-11
02- Migrating Worlds
03- Gliese 581
04- Goldilocks
05- 51 Pegasi
06- Doppler Effect
07- Rhythmic Shift
08- Eccentric Giants
09- Transitters
10- Mu Arae
11- Intermediate World
12- Worlds Observed
13- Extra Solar Earths
14- Migrant Worlds
15- Accretion
16- Core Accretion
17- Disk Erosion
18- Planetary Embryos
19- The Protected Zone
20- Ecosphere
21- Ecosphere II
22- Beta Pictoris
23- Vanquishing Starlight
24- Red Edge / Earth Shine
25- Distant Continents
26- The Age of Stars
   

01- K-11

 

 

In February 2011 astronomers announced the discovery of the K-11 star, which is widely regarded as the most important discovery since the first exoplanet, 51 Pegasi b, in 1995.
Of the 519 extra-solar planets so far found, most are gas giants. A few rocky planets have been found, although much larger than our Earth. Most stars so far found have only one planet orbiting them.

The K-11 star is 2,000 light years away, is about the size of our sun but is 6 to 10 billion years older. But the most unusual thing about it is that it has 6 planets orbiting it. They are much more closely packed than any other known exo-planet system. 5 of the six planets orbit closer than Mercury is to our sun and much faster, completing an orbit between 10 and 47 days ( Mercury orbits every 88 days ).

According to the current theory of planet formation by accretion, these planets can not have formed where they are now. Grouped so closely together their gravity should have interfered with the accretion process. They should have ripped each other apart at the outset.

In other words the K-11 system may be full of migrant worlds that have changed their orbits.

 
  Alan Lambert 2011