Planets found orbiting the sun’s twin may be the start of a brand new solar system as astronomers have discovered three planets orbiting stars in Messier 67.
While planets orbiting stars is nothing new, these planets are found in star clusters. Astronomers have been eager to find out if planets form different in star clusters as opposed to orbiting a single star.
Lead author of the study Anna Brucalassi told reporters of the findings:
“In the Messier 67 star cluster the stars are all about the same age and composition as the Sun. This makes it a perfect laboratory to study how many planets form in such a crowded environment, and whether they form mostly around more massive or less massive stars.”
Using ESO’s HARPS telescope to look deep into space, Brucalassi and her team monitored 88 stars in Messier 67 over the course of six years. Within their research, the team discovered planets orbiting a star similar to the sun.
One planet in particular was orbiting a star that has been classified as being nearly identical to our very own sun. According to the Science Daily, it is the first solar twin in a cluster that has a planet within its orbit.
Co-author of the study Luca Pasquini told reporters:
“These new results show that planets in open star clusters are about as common as they are around isolated stars — but they are not easy to detect. The new results are in contrast to earlier work that failed to find cluster planets, but agrees with some other more recent observations. We are continuing to observe this cluster to find how stars with and without planets differ in mass and chemical makeup.”
Planets Found Orbiting the Sun’s Twin May Be the Sign of New Solar System.