A team of international scientists has discovered a twin of Jupiter in a solar system that is very much like our own. What’s more, the distance between this Jupiter twin and its host star HIP 11915 is same as the distance between Jupiter and our own sun. If that was not enough, astronomers said the star HIP 11915 is the same age, and has a similar mass as our sun.
Discovery of Jupiter-twin is an important milestone
The Jupiter twin and its host star are located in the constellation Cetus, just 186 light years away from Earth. Lead researcher Jorge Melendez of the Universidade de Sao Paulo, Brazil said finding a twin of Jupiter was an important milestone in the mission to find a planetary system that mirrors our own. Findings of the study were published in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics.
Earlier this year, astronomers proposed a theory that states that Jupiter played a crucial role in the formation of our solar system. It exerted huge gravitation influence during its formative years, helping form inner rocky planets in our solar system before being pulled by Saturn’s gravity. Discovery of the gas giant’s twin and Sun 2.0 has fueled speculations that HIP 11915 may have smaller rocky planets closer in. Such planets could be like Venus, Mars or Earth.
Scientists may have found a complete Solar System 2.0
To quote Jorge Melendez, it could be “a complete Solar System 2.0.” Astronomers said HIP 11915 is the “most promising candidate” to host a planetary system very much like our own. Though scientists have found over a thousand exoplanets over the last two decades, finding a Jupiter twin so far from its host star is unusual. That’s because such gas giants are often found much closer in.
Co-author Megan Bedell of the University of Chicago says this discovery suggests that there may be other solar systems out there waiting to be discovered. The discovery was made using the superpowerful High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS) telescope at the La Silla Observatory in Chile.