Scientists believe that a system close to ours formed almost like the Solar System, after this discovery

06/05/2022
Credit image:  ESO/L. Calçada - This artist’s impression shows exocomets orbiting the star Beta Pictoris
Credit image: ESO/L. Calçada - This artist’s impression shows exocomets orbiting the star Beta Pictoris

Article by: Andacs Robert Eugen, on 06 May 2022, at 08:59 am Los Angeles time

A team of international scientists led by Alain Lecavelier des Etangs from the Institute of Astrophysics in Paris, part of the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) in France, discovered 30 (exo)comets in orbit around the star Beta Pictoris.

"The first time the size distribution of small bodies has been measured in a planetary system other than our own," said NASA.

For the discovery, the researchers used data and observations from NASA's TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite) to determine the size of the exocomets.

The team's results show that the nuclei of the studied exocomets varied between 1.8 and 8.6 miles in diameter.

How were they discovered?

Comets are not large bodies, which is why it is hard to believe that you can discover them more than 60 light-years away.

However, the scientists were able to do this by observing their long, very popular tails as they approached its star, thus determining 30 exocomets.

But it is believed that there may be many more comets in that system than those discovered so far.

The new discovery has led scientists to think of a possible theory that the Beta Pictoris system, a star 64 light-years from Earth, has formed similarly to our Solar System.

The entire collection of comets discovered so far is very similar to ours, in terms of size and some characteristics.

If future research shows that this is possible, then we may find out a lot about the beginning of our planetary system orbiting the Sun.

Beta Pictoris also has two planets orbiting it, namely Beta Pictoris b and Beta Pictoris c.

An extensive study of these exoplanets could also help researchers to find out the similarities between the two systems.

Both systems may have formed after a series of collisions and crushing that led to the creation of various bodies of different sizes, such as planets, asteroids, and comets.

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