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Epsilon Eridani system, illustration

Epsilon Eridani system, illustration

C038/9447

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Credit

NASA / SOFIA / LYNETTE COOK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / SOFIA / LYNETTE COOK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Epsilon Eridani system. Illustration showing the planet Epsilon Eridani b (bottom right), a Jupiter-mass planet orbiting its parent star (upper left) at the outside edge of an asteroid belt. Two comets and colliding asteroids are also shown. In the background can be seen another belt plus an outermost belt similar in size to our solar system's Kuiper Belt. This stellar system is similar to the Sun's, although Epsilon Eridani is much younger than our Sun. SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy) observations confirmed the existence of the asteroid belt adjacent to the orbit of the Jovian planet. This planetary system is around 10 light years from Earth in the constellation Eridanus. Epsilon Eridani b is thought to be orbiting close to the star's habitable zone, so its moons might be able to support life.

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