Nearby Young Sun with a Solar System that Appears to be Very Much Like Ours Discovered
Analyzing distant solar systems can tell us more about our own.
A young solar system located a mere 10 light years away appears to be remarkably similar to our own.
Discovered recently in the constellation Eradinus, the solar system surrounding the star Epsilon Eridani is not only very similar to our own but is also the closest known solar system with a star that is essentially a younger version of the Sun.
For this reason, it should be able to tell us much about how our own solar system came in to being.
“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 study co-author and astronomer Massimo Marengo.
Observations using NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) indicate that this distant solar system is home to an inner and outer disk with a prominent gap between them.
“There is a gap most likely created by planets,” said Marengo.
“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.”