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« Thread started on: May 2nd, 2017, 8:06pm »

SOFIA Confirms Nearby Planetary System Is Similar To Our Own

NASAís flying observatory, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, SOFIA, recently completed a detailed study of a nearby planetary system. The investigations confirmed that this nearby planetary system has an architecture remarkably similar to that of our solar system.

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. 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.

Previous studies indicate that eps Eri has a debris disk, which is the name astronomers give to leftover material still orbiting a star after planetary construction has completed. The debris can take the form of gas and dust, as well as small rocky and icy bodies. Debris disks can be broad, continuous disks or concentrated into belts of debris, similar to our solar systemís asteroid belt and the Kuiper Belt Ė the region beyond Neptune where hundreds of thousands of icy-rocky objects reside. Furthermore, careful measurements of the motion of eps Eri indicates that a planet with nearly the same mass as Jupiter circles the star at a distance comparable to Jupiterís distance from the Sun.

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