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Undiscovered planets may lie hidden in a "twin" solar system 10.5 light years from the Earth, scientists believe.
Epsilon Eridani looks very like a much younger version of our own star system, say astronomers in the latest edition of the Astrophyiscal Journal.
It possesses a rocky asteroid belt identical to the one that lies between Mars and Jupiter, and an outer ring of icy material similar to the Kuiper Belt at the edge of our Solar System. In addition it has a second outer belt of asteasteroids containing 20 times more space rock than the inner one.
Co-author Dr Dana Backman, from the SETI (Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence) Institute, said: "This system probably looks a lot like ours did when life first took root on Earth."
Epsilon Eridani, which is visible to the naked eye, is slightly smaller and cooler than the Sun but much younger. Whereas the Sun formed around 4.57 billion years ago, Epsilon Eridani is only around 850 million years old. The star's asteroid belts were found using the Spitzer space telescope.
Originally posted by Diplomat
This type of solar system in the article is probably very common throughout the Universe. It just seems to be the norm... balls of rock, gas, and other things are gravitationally held by a huge ball of fire. I believe this is just how it is and that there are zillions and zillions of these little solar systems out there.
Originally posted by midnightbrigade
I'd jump on the ship to go.
Originally posted by johnsky
10.5 light years away!?
Holy geez that's close! And we weren't aware of it before?