W. M. Keck Observatory | University of Montreal | 2018 Jan 09
An international research team led by Université de Montréal astrophysicist Lauren Weiss has discovered that exoplanets orbiting the same star tend to have similar sizes and a regular orbital spacing.
This pattern, revealed by new W. M. Keck Observatory observations of planetary systems discovered by the Kepler Telescope, could suggest that most planetary systems have a different formation history than our solar system.
Thanks in large part to the NASA Kepler Telescope, launched in 2009, many thousands of exoplanets are now known. This large sample allows researchers to not only study individual systems, but also to draw conclusions on planetary systems in general. ...
Using a statistical analysis, the team found two surprising patterns. They found that exoplanets tend to be the same sizes as their neighbors. If one planet is small, the next planet around that same star is very likely to be small as well, and if one planet is big, the next is likely to be big. They also found that planets orbiting the same star tend to have a regular orbital spacing. ...
The California-Kepler Survey V. Peas in a Pod: Planets in a Kepler
Multi-Planet System are Similar in Size and Regularly Spaced - Lauren M. Weiss et al