This artist's concept shows Kepler-11 -- the most tightly packed planetary system yet discovered.

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This artist's concept shows Kepler-11 -- the most tightly packed planetary system yet discovered.

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The star appears to blink in a pattern. It dims like clockwork as six "hands" of differing size orbit around it at different rates. Kepler-11 dims when its six orbiting planets cross between it and the Kepler spacecraft. Calculations show the planets are nested in circular orbits that lie in almost the same plane.

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