An international team of astronomers has detected a planet very similar to Jupiter orbiting at the same distance from a Sun-like star. And because the age and chemical composition of this system is similar to our own, it likely features an inner collection of rocky planets. Call it solar system 2.0.
By using the Gemini Planet Imager, an international team of astronomers have captured an image of a protoplanetary disc that shares remarkable similarities with our own Kuiper Belt — though as it was at a much earlier time in our Solar System’s history.
Prior to the discovery of exoplanets, astronomers assumed that our solar system's configuration was typical. But now, some 1,715 exoplanets later, we know that we're far from ordinary. So what passes for "normal" in the annals of solar systems? Here's what we know now.
In what appears to be a record, two different teams of astronomers have confirmed the existence of a seventh planet orbiting a dwarf star 2,500 light-years away. And incredibly, all seven planets are caught in a tight orbit closer than the Earth's distance to the Sun.
A new study estimates that one in four sun-like stars have Earth-sized planets — far more than previously thought. It challenges current theories on how planets form, and may mean a greater chance of finding habitable worlds.