Nasa has found a distant star circled by eight planets, equal to the complement in our own Solar System.
It’s the largest number of worlds ever discovered in a planetary system outside our own.
The star known as Kepler-90, is just a bit hotter and larger than the Sun; astronomers already knew of seven planets around it.
The newly discovered world is small enough to be rocky, according to scientists.
“This makes Kepler 90 the first star to host as many planets as our own Solar System,” said Christopher Shallue, a software engineer at Google, which contributed to the discovery.
Engineers from Google used a type of artificial intelligence called machine learning to find planets that were missed by previous searches.
The discovery was based on observations gathered by Nasa’s Kepler Space Telescope.
The new world, dubbed Kepler-90i, appears to be sizzling hot, orbiting its star once every 14.4 days.
Its parent star is very distant, lying 2,545 light-years away. But its planetary system appears to be ordered in a similar way to our own, with the smaller planets located further in, and the bigger ones further out.
The machine learning technique was also used to find a new Earth-sized planet, called Kepler 80g, around a different star.
Some 3,500 exoplanets – worlds circling other stars – have been documented in recent decades.
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