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Oldest Planet System with 5 Earths Found
Feb 04, 2015

An international team of astronomers has discovered an unusual star system (Kepler-444) that is comprised of the oldest known star hosting planets, 11.2 billion years old. To compare, the Big Bang is considered to have happened 13.8 billion years ago.

The discovery of an ancient star located 117 light-years from Earth was based on observations made by NASA's Kepler satellite.

  • The oldest star has been found so far hosting planets slightly smaller than the Earth.

  • Kepler-444 has five planets orbiting it.

  • Their sizes vary between those of Mercury and Venus, and they orbit their parent star in less than 10 days, at less than one-tenth Earth's distance from the sun.

  • The lack of liquid water and high levels of radiation make them uninhabitable.

  • To find out the age of the system in the Constellation Lyre, scientists used the method of asteroseismology, which provides a tool to determine the internal structure of stars by their pulsation frequencies.

  • The sizes of the planets are measured by the fading in intensity of the star’s light, caused by passing across its face.

  • Kepler-444 belongs to the old-population of the universe, and astronomers hope that the discovery may help to pinpoint the beginning of the era of planet formation.

NASA’s space telescope Kepler was launched in 2009, and it has since discovered over 1,000 confirmed exoplanets in about 440 stellar systems. Its mission targets Earth-like planets outside our solar system.

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