Mini-Me Solar System Found

I got quite excited this morning when I read a headline on the BBC website: “Solar System’s ‘look-alike’ found.”

Turns out, however, that (surprise surprise) the headline was misleading. While planets that are “close matches for Jupiter and Saturn” have been found in orbit of the star OGLE-2006-BLG-109L, the star itself–let’s call it OGLE for simplicity’s sake–is only half the size of our Sun. The two planets also orbit only half as far away from OGLE as Jupiter and Saturn orbit from the Sun.

Farther down in the article it is acknowledged that the newfound planets have “a similar mass ratio and similar orbital radius and a similar orbital period” to those in our system…but by ‘similar’ they mean in relation to the smaller star and that’s not really a ‘look-alike’, now is it?

One of the researchers interviewed does a more honest job of describing the find than the writer did when he calls it “a kind of scaled-down version of our Solar System.”

That’s right: we’ve found a Mini Me of our solar system.

– S.

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