Kepler-444 was formed when the universe was less than 20% of its current age
Astronomers led by Dr. Tiago Campante of the University of Birmingham have discovered an ancient solar system with five Earth-like planets. The discovery would shed light on the possibility of ancient life forms in the galaxy. Researchers identified the host star, Kepler-444, using data from the Kepler space telescope. The star dates back to the dawn of the Milky Way galaxy.
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Kepler-444 is the oldest known solar system
Kepler-444 is 11.2 billion years old, two and a half times older than our solar system. In a study published in the Astrophysical Journal, scientists said that it was the oldest known system of terrestrial-sized planets in Milky Way. Kepler-444 was formed when the universe was less than 20% of its current age. The Earth-like planets are so close to their host star that they complete their orbits in less than 10 days.
Researchers were able to study the ancient solar system using a method called astroseismology. The technique observes minuscule changes in Kepler-444’s brightness. It enabled them to measure the star’s mass, diameter, and calculate its age. Astronomers studied the brightness of Kepler-444 over time and identified planets passing in front of it, causing a slight dimming.
Kepler-444 is 117 light years away
Based on how much the light was dimmed, scientists were able to measure the sizes of all the five Earth-like planets, using Kepler-444 as a baseline. They found that the star is 117 light-years away from the Earth, and is 25% smaller than our sun. Its five known planets are smaller than Earth as their sizes vary between Mercury and Venus.
Kepler-444 is located in the direction of constellations Lyra and Cygnus. Since its planets are very close to the star, they are much hotter than Earth and are not habitable. However, the discovery will help scientists learn more about early planet formation in the galaxy. NASA’s Kepler space telescope has discovered hundreds of exoplanets since its launch in 2009.