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5 planets found in unusual rhythmic dance around a star 200 light-years away

Our solar system is just one of many planetary systems, and so far, no two systems are alike. The systems vary in the number and type of planets they contain.

About 200 light-years away from us is the star TOI-178, found in the Sculptor constellation. The research team initially thought there were only two stars orbiting the planet.

A closer look revealed something else entirely.

“Through further observations we realized that there were not two planets orbiting the star at roughly the same distance from it, but rather multiple planets in a very special configuration,” said lead study author Adrien Leleu, a CHEOPS fellow at the University of Bern, Switzerland, in a statement. (CHEOPS stands for the European Space Agency’s CHaracterizing ExOPlanet Satellite.)The study published Monday in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

Five of the six planets are essentially locked in a rare rhythmic orbit around the stars, creating a resonance. This means that some of the planets are actually aligned every few orbits and that there are discerniblepatterns as the planets complete their orbits.

This happens around Jupiter in our solar system as three of its moons, Io, Europa and Ganymede, orbit the gas giant. Io is the closest of the three moons. For every four orbits it completes around Jupiter, Europa completes two and Ganymede completes one. This creates a 4:2:1 pattern(CNN)

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