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Old 10-28-2008, 02:12 PM
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FocalPoint FocalPoint is offline
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"Nearby" Solar System could be like ours was....

Too early, though, to book holiday trips or honeymoons....

Nearby Solar System Looks Like Our Own at Time Life Formed
By Alexis Madrigal October 27, 2008 | 12:49:48 PMCategories: Astrobiology, Astronomy, Space

A nearby solar system bears a striking similarity to our own solar system, raising the possibility it could harbor Earth-like planets.

Epsilon Eridani, located about 10.5 light-years from our sun, is surrounded by two asteroid belts that are shaped by planets, astronomers at SETI Institute and Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics announced today.
"This system probably looks a lot like ours did when life first took root on Earth," said SETI's Dana Backman, lead author of a paper on the 850-million-year-old star that will appear next year in The Astrophysical Journal, in a release.

Epsilon Eridani's evolution could provide insight into how universal these processes are. That's important because our solar system contains a planet Earth just far enough from the sun not to be fried but close enough to capture enough energy to support life as we know it. Similar systems could end up with planets orbiting in the same biological sweet spot.
Right now, Epsilon Eridani is surrounded by three asteroid rings that scientists believe are held in formation by large planets, the first of which is theorized to sit about half the distance from Mars to Jupiter. In the new paper, two other large planets, slightly farther from their star than Uranus and Neptune are from the sun, are proposed to explain the shape of the outer belts.
It will take more sensitive instruments perhaps like the next-generation of planet-hunting telescopes to determine whether any would-be Earths lurk inside the habitable zone near the star.

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Old 10-28-2008, 02:13 PM
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C.Whyte C.Whyte is offline
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Man, stuff like that freaks me out... the whole "unknown" is spooky IMO.
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