Skip to comments.Smaller Version of the Solar System Is Discovered
Posted on 02/14/2008 11:44:10 PM PST by neverdem
Astronomers said Wednesday that they had found a miniature version of our own solar system 5,000 light-years across the galaxy the first planetary system that really looks like our own, with outer giant planets and room for smaller inner planets.
It looks like a scale model of our solar system, said Scott Gaudi, an assistant professor of astronomy at Ohio State University. Dr. Gaudi led an international team of 69 professional and amateur astronomers who announced the discovery in a news conference with reporters.
Their results are being published Friday in the journal Science. The discovery, they said, means that our solar system may be more typical of planetary systems across the universe than had been thought.
In the newly discovered system, a planet about two-thirds of the mass of Jupiter and another about 90 percent of the mass of Saturn are orbiting a reddish star at about half the distances that Jupiter and Saturn circle our own Sun. The star is about half the mass of the Sun.
Neither of the two giant planets is a likely abode for life as we know it. But, Dr. Gaudi said, warm rocky planets suitable for life could exist undetected in the inner parts of the system.
This could be a true solar system analogue, he said.
Sara Seager, a theorist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who was not part of the team, said that right now in exoplanets we are on an inexorable path to finding other Earths. Dr. Seager praised the discovery as a big step in finding out if our planetary system is alone.
Since 1995, around 250 planets outside the solar system, or exoplanets, have been discovered. But few of them are in systems that even faintly resemble our own. In many cases...
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
I thought that was Epsilon Iridani? Much closer to the Emperor. Ask Fleetlord Atvar.
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