Astronomers found a planet similar to the Earth in a cloud of space dust
Astronomers were able to confirm the fact that a planet similar to the Earth rotates around one of the closest stars. The newly discovered planetary system might actually share most characteristics with the Solar system than other planets discovered so far.
Vega is the center star of the new planetary system. The star is one of the brightest in the sky. 25 light years separate Vega from the Earth. It is three times greater than the Sun and much younger. The star is only 350 million years old.
A cloud of dust along with a relatively massive planet is rotating around Vega. The cloud is capable of "shaking off" orbits' debris. By doing so, it enables the existence of smaller planets such as the Earth.
Astronomers acquired such valuable data by means of one of the world’s most sensitive cameras. The device is called "Sublimillimetre Common-User Bolometer Array" (SCUBA). It was installed on a radio telescope of James Clerk Marxwell in Hawaii.
Several pictures of Vega obtained with the help of the camera prove recent hypothesis regarding the existence of an extremely cold dust (-180 degrees Celsius) on its orbit.
New technology of computer modeling allowed scientists to visualize the actual structure of the disk. They did so by inputting certain parameters of the similar planet Neptune, with analogues weight and similar distance from the star.
A wide orbit of such planet presumes the existence of space for several firm planets similar to the Earth.
"The disk's shape serves as an evidence of the existence of more planets there," claims Mark White from the Edinburgh's Queen Observatory. "Despite the fact that we are unable to observe the planet, we can still notice its impact on the disk of dust, surrounding the star."
In case the hypothesis does prove to be correct, Vega might actually be a part of an entire planetary system, similar to the Solar.
The star's system could have emerged just like the Solar system. Gas giants like the Neptune were formed at first. Afterwards, gravitation forces of the neighboring planets have simply moved them to more distant orbits.
In the course of this process, these giant planets have been "sucking out" useless debris, which if not removed, could have prevented other young planets from complete development, reports BBCrussian.com.