Astronomers have hinted at the existence of another solar system very similar to ours.
Brazilian researchers have discovered a new planet, similar in mass to Jupiter orbiting a sun-like star using the ESO 3.6-metre telescope.
This is an artist’s impression showing the newly discovered gas giant orbiting the solar twin star.
In a paper published by the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics, scientists said the finding is an important milestone for learning about the nature of other planetary systems that bear a resemblance to ours.
Jorge Melendez, co-author of the paper explained the significance of the discovery:
"...the quest for an Earth 2.0, and for a complete Solar System 2.0, is one of the most exciting endeavors in astronomy. We are thrilled to be part of this cutting-edge research, made possible by the observational facilities provided by ESO."
The new star and planet system closely mirrors Jupiter's mass and distance from our own sun. Its star, which researchers have named HIP 11915 is similar to the sun both in terms of age, composition and mass.
Megan Bedell, from the University of Chicago and lead author of the paper, concludes: "After two decades of hunting for exoplanets, we are finally beginning to see long-period gas giant planets similar to those in our own Solar System thanks to the long-term stability of planet hunting instruments like HARPS. This discovery is, in every respect, an exciting sign that other solar systems may be out there waiting to be discovered."