Room For Two: Planets Discovered With Same Orbit

The Kepler Space Telescope has discovered something new and exciting which could hold the key to the creation of the moon.

For the first time, two possible planets have been discovered which both share the exact same orbit around their star. The two worlds are located in the KOI-730 system, a solar system with a total of four unconfirmed planets.

A year on these two worlds is just 9.8 Earth days, and both orbit at the exact same distance, and with a fixed distance between each other. Each planet would be fixed in the others sky, never disappearing. What an amazing sight it must be.

Planetary systems with so-called ‘co-orbiting planet’ are extremely rare, this is the first time we have potentially spotted one, although scientists have theorised about them before.

This discovery by Kepler could help unlock the mystery as to how our Moon was created. A leading theory as to the creation of our moon was that a planet named Theia shared the same orbit around the sun as the Earth. Eventually the two planets met and collided with great force, completely destroying Theia. Eventually all the debris would have either settled back on the Earth, while some clumped together to form the moon, which is now stuck in orbit around the Earth.

Some people are suggesting that this could be the fate of the two newly discovered planets. Although any aliens don’t have to worry yet, as predictions show the planets wont collide for another 2.2 Million years. Although, even if they do collide, the conditions need to be just right for a moon to be formed, if they collide too fast then it is likely no moon could form.

This is a very interesting discovery, and once again Kepler is proving to be a successful mission, just earlier this month it was announced that Kepler had identified about 1,202 possible planetary candidates.

These ill fated worlds will eventually collide, we may not know if it could make a moon, but we can guess pretty well that it would be one heck of a fire work display!

Top Image Credit: NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech

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