Of the many mysteries that the universe is hiding, one earthlings have rarely considered outside of movies is doppelganger planets. But an international team of space scientists has recently found a Jupiter-like planet orbiting a Sun-like star. They reside roughly 186 light years away from us, in the constellation Cetus.
The discovery, made with the help of a super-powerful telescope found at La Silla Observatory (Chile), reveals that the star, named HIP 11915, has more than one thing in common with our Sun. On top of looking like our star, it also has the same mass, the same age, and sits at the same distance from its Jupiter-like planet that our Sun can be found at from our Jupiter.
The Jupiter-like planet also resembles our Jupiter visually, it has a very similar mass, and shares an incredibly similar orbit. It’s a fascinating and unusual finding that might even provide some valuable answers about how planets form in the universe.
These space objects suggest that an Erath-like planet might also be lurking in their vicinity, with Jorge Melendez, co-author and professor over at the Universidade de São Paulo (Brazil), taking a the theory a step even further by saying that astronomers might have actually stumbled upon “a complete Solar System 2.0”.
Earlier this year, a paper has revealed that field experts consider Jupiter to be a gravitational powerhouse in our solar system, once a violent, brutal and tumultuous place. But Jupiter’s gravitational heft is said to have stabilized our solar system, which in turn created favorable conditions for planet Earth to appear.
Other contemporary theories add that Jupiter had a great deal to do with “vacuuming” inside our solar system and stopping a lot of the errant comets and asteroids from crashing into the fledgling Earth. As a direct result, this allowed life on our planet to gain a good foothold on the Earth as the number of extinction-threatening impacts was controlled by the local gas giant.
The working theory is that the Jupiter-like planet orbiting the Sun-like start might do the same for the constellation Cetus. The discovery also informs astronomers that planets and solar systems that resemble our own may not be quite as rare as previously believed.
Jorge Melendez gave a statement saying that “The quest for an Earth 2.0, and for a complete Solar System 2.0, is one of the most exciting endeavors in astronomy”.
Megan Bedell, member of the University of Chicago and study collaborator, gave a statement of his own saying that astronomers have been hunting for exoplanets for about two (2) decades, and they are now finally starting to find long-period gas giants that are similar to those found in our own solar system.
One of the main tools that’s finally making theses discoveries possible is the HARPS instrument that’s attached to the European Southern Observatory’s telescope.
Bedell went on to add that every aspect of the remarkable discovery is a sign that there might be other solar systems out there in the universe, waiting patiently to be discovered.
The paper was written by Melendez and Bedell, and published in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics.
Image Source: sciencedaily.com