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Nearby planetary system can be a good model of our early Solar System due to similar Architecture: Study

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Solar system. Pixabay
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Washington, May 3, 2017: A nearby planetary system star could be a good model of our early solar system as it has an architecture remarkably similar to that of our own, astronomers have confirmed.

Located 10.5 light-years away in the southern hemisphere of the constellation Eridanus, the star Epsilon Eridani, eps Eri for short, is the closest planetary system around a star similar to the early Sun.

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It is a prime location to research how planets form around stars like our Sun, and is also the storied location of the Babylon 5 space station in the science fictional television series of the same name.

“It really is impressive how eps Eri, a much younger version of our solar system, is put together like ours,” said one of the researchers, Kate Su of the University of Arizona in the US.

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This study, based on data from NASA’s flying observatory, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, SOFIA, was published in the Astronomical Journal.

Massimo Marengo, Associate Professor at Iowa State University, and other astronomers have been studying the star and its planetary system since 2004.

In a 2009 scientific paper, the astronomers used data from NASA’s Spitzer space telescope to describe the star’s disc of fine dust and debris left over from the formation of planets and the collisions of asteroids and comets.

They reported the disk contained separate belts of asteroids, similar to the asteroid and Kuiper belts of our solar system.

Subsequent studies by other astronomers questioned that finding.

The new study used SOFIA and Spitzer data to confirm there are separate inner and outer disk structures. (IANS)

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NASA’s Kepler Discovers Nearly 100 New Exoplanets

NASA researchers found that some of the signals were caused by multiple star systems or noise from the spacecraft

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UFO religion as a concept is now becoming a part of popular understanding.
Countless galaxies exist in the universe, each hiding secrets that humankind is yet to unearth. Pixabay
  • NASA’s Kepler has discovered nearly 100 new exoplanets
  • Some of the planets discovered are as large as Jupiter
  • NASA has also found planet which orbits very bright stars

An international team of scientists have confirmed the discovery of nearly 100 new exoplanets — planets located outside our solar system.

The discovery was based on data from the second mission of NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope or K2 released in 2014.

NASA has discovered nearly 100 exoplanets. Wikimedia Commons
NASA has discovered nearly 100 exoplanets. Wikimedia Commons

K2 searches for exoplanet transits by registering dips in light caused by the shadow of an exoplanet as it crosses in front of its host star.

NASA researchers found that some of the signals were caused by multiple star systems or noise from the spacecraft.

But they also detected planets that range from sub-Earth-sized to the size of Jupiter and larger.

Also Read: Milky Way’s neighbouring galaxy is of the same size, not bigger

One of the planets detected was orbiting a very bright star.

“We validated a planet on a 10-day orbit around a star called HD 212657, which is now the brightest star found by K2 missions to host a validated planet,” said lead author Andrew Mayo, a doctoral student at the National Space Institute (DTU Space) at the Technical University of Denmark.

Some of the planets found are as big as Jupiter. VOA
Some of the planets found are as big as Jupiter. VOA

For the study, appearing in the Astronomical Journal, the team started out analyzing 275 candidates of which 149 were validated as real exoplanets.

In turn 95 of these planets have proved to be new discoveries, Mayo said.

The Kepler spacecraft was first launched in 2009 to hunt for exoplanets in a single patch of sky, but in 2013 a mechanical failure crippled the telescope.

NASA has found many planets before as well. Wikimedia Commons
NASA has found many planets before as well. Wikimedia Commons

However, astronomers and engineers devised a way to repurpose and save the space telescope by changing its field of view periodically. This solution paved the way for the follow up K2 mission.

Adding the newly discovered exoplanets brings the total number of exoplanets by K2 mission to almost 300, the study said.

Also Read: NASA sounding rocket probing dark regions of space falter

The first planet orbiting a star similar to our own Sun was detected only in 1995. Today some 3,600 exoplanets have been found, ranging from rocky Earth-sized planets to large gas giants like Jupiter. IANS