Astronomers find that Epsilon Eridani solar system resembles our own system

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New data of the Epsilon Eridani solar system 10.5 light years away confirms that its debris disk has a structure somewhat resembling our own solar system.

The data has found that the debris disk has two narrow belts, one located at about the same distance from the star as our asteroid belt, and the other orbiting at about where Uranus is located. In addition, the system appears to have a Jupiter-sized planet orbiting the same distance from the star as does Jupiter.



  • Edward

    Interestingly, this study was performed by NASA’s SOFIA airborne telescope. A budget proposal, three years ago, would have grounded this telescope:

  • Edward: Just because this telescope contributed to this most recent study does not necessarily prove that the budget cuts proposed three years ago were wrong. In fact, there is much about this story that makes me suspicious that it is being pushed for budget reasons. In fact, if this is all that SOFIA has accomplished than it certainly is not worth the money.

  • LocalFluff

    SOFIA has accomplished many things. An airplane borne telescope is a great idea, and SOPHIA has precursors. At 12,000 meter altitude it is above most of the photon absorbing water in the atmosphere and has 85% access to IR light compared with a space telescope. Its mirror is the size of Hubble’s but SOPHIA gets a “service mission” every time it lands. It is like a large number of sequential IR telescopes, because they choose instruments that are optimal for each observational purpose. And they are always updated and use the latest technology. The instrument is actually crewed during observations, there’s not much of a mass limit and operations are very much easier for an airplane than for a spacecraft.

    SOPHIA’s budget of $0.085 billion per year is just 1% of the total cost for the infrared JWST.

  • Laurie

    Wow, imaging Epsilon Aphrodite (!)

  • Laurie

    That is ‘imagine’ – although imaging would be interesting, too ;)

  • Max

    Wow, look at that wonderful solar system created from only a small bit of information. It’s amazing what a little data placed into a model can produce when it comes out The other side… if you look close, you can see Babylon 5 orbiting the Jupiter like planet… Not.

    Robert said; “In fact, there is much about this story that makes me suspicious that it is being pushed for budget reasons.”
    Now I think I understand what Bill Nye the pretend to know science guy meant when he said in his interview on NPR that “all science is political, but it is not partisan.”
    When seen in the light of funding, his words are true. Take the money and promise that you can make it rain. You know that sooner or later, it will rain. And then you can take credit and get more funding…
    That coming from the mouth of a person who is highly partisan, it’s affect falls flat. I just have to remind myself he’s just an actor who pretends to be a scientist on TV.

  • wayne

    you are on a roll today!

  • Edward

    Robert wrote: “In fact, if this is all that SOFIA has accomplished than it certainly is not worth the money.

    As LocalFluff suggested, total project costs should be taken into consideration. Indeed, the only reason why Hubble is inexpensive, these days, is because there is no expenditure on future Space Shuttle maintenance missions. Those were fairly expensive missions, every three or four years, but they improved the telescope and extended its mission. With luck, we will be able to perform future maintenance missions and further improve and extend Hubble. Perhaps crewed Dragon or Starliner will be hired for such a mission in the next few years.

    I believe that a variety of instruments help to perform the variety of observations that we need in order to understand the universe. I’m not sure how much more SOFIA costs than other modern telescopes, such as TMT.

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