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October 17 2012

Most Alien Solar Systems Are 'Flatter Than Pancakes'

Our solar system is shaped like a thin-crust pizza, with most of the planets traveling around the sun close to the same plane, and it's apparently not alone. A new study suggests the majority of alien planetary systems are much like ours, "flatter than pancakes," scientists say.

UCLA astronomers looked at data from NASA's planet-hunting Kepler space telescope and found that more than 85 percent of alien planets have inclinations of less than 3 degrees. This means they orbit around a star near the same axis as other planets in their system.

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