Posted Thursday, July 26, 2012, at 5:11 PM
Astronomers using the Kepler Space Telescope have found an alien solar system that bears a striking resemblance to our own. OK, it's not exactly the Winklevoss twins, but the two systems do have important similarities. Kepler 30—as it’s been named—has a sun-like star at its center, complete with star spots just like the giant solar storms we observe here at home. And orbiting this doppelgänger gas ball 10,000 light-years from Earth, scientists have so far found three extrasolar planets.
Photo by NASA, ESA, and the Hubble SM4 ERO Team via Getty Images
Though more massive than our planets, these worlds circle their home star on the same plane aligned to its rotation, just like our planetary gang of eight. This discovery suggests that all solar systems may start out looking pretty much alike, growing together out of a huge disk of gas and dust spinning around a star.
That’s going to make it a chore telling each other apart at the galactic family picnic.
Video by Paca Thomas.