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Entire solar system “remarkably similar” to ours discovered by Nasa

Astronomers at Nasa found a solar system near to us that is “remarkably similar” to our own. This might help us have a better understanding of how our own plant and its neighbours were formed.

The system is located 10 light-years away in the constellation Eradinus. Scientists say that the solar system around the star Epsilon Eridani looks really similar to the one around our own sun. It is also the closest that includes a star that is like a youthful version of our own, according to the Independent.

Epsilon Eridani may look like our own star, but it is just one-fifth the age, meaning that looking at it is like looking back in time.


“This star hosts a planetary system currently undergoing the same cataclysmic processes that happened to the solar system in its youth, at the time in which the moon gained most of its craters, Earth acquired the water in its oceans, and the conditions favorable for life on our planet were set,” wrote astronomer Massimo Marengo, one of the authors of the new paper.

The paper is based on data collected by NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, also known as SOFIA, which is housed in an aircraft and is able to take detailed pictures of distant stars.

The scientists found that the star is surrounded by two structures, an inner and an outer disk, with a gap that seems to have been created by planets.

“But we can now say with great confidence that there is a separation between the star’s inner and outer belts,” Marengo said. “There is a gap most likely created by planets. We haven’t detected them yet, but I would be surprised if they are not there. Seeing them will require using the next-generation instrumentation, perhaps NASA’s 6.5-meter James Webb Space Telescope scheduled for launch in October 2018.”

This might help astronomers have a look at the ancient past of the Earth and the planets that surround it.

“The prize at the end of this road is to understand the true structure of epsilon Eridani’s out-of-this-world disk, and its interactions with the cohort of planets likely inhabiting its system,” Marengo wrote in a newsletter story about the project. “SOFIA, by its unique ability of capturing infrared light in the dry stratospheric sky, is the closest we have to a time machine, revealing a glimpse of Earth’s ancient past by observing the present of a nearby young sun.”

Daisy Wilder