Inter stellar discovery

Published: Saturday 15 August 1998

ASTRONOMERS in Hawaii, USA, have discovered a solar system that seems to be forming around the star Epsilon Eridani, about 10 light years away. The astronomers, who were using a British telescope, say that the star, which is similar to the Sun, has a ring of dust around it like the comet belt in our solar system, and a bright region that may be the sign of a planet.

Presenting the reports at a conference in Santa Barbara, Jane Greaves from the Joint Astronomy Centre in Hawaii said that it is the first time they have seen anything like this around a star similar to the Sun. "We were amazed to see a bright spot in the ring, which may be dust trapped in orbit around a planet," she says.

She further adds that this star system is a strong candidate for planets, but if there are planets, it is unlikely that there could be life yet. When the Earth was this young, it was still being bombarded by comets and other debris.

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