Astronomers Discovered Icy Comets Orbiting A Sun-Like Star

First Posted: May 23, 2016 07:00 AM EDT

Astronomers have identified evidence of icy comets around a sun-star like about 160 light-years from Earth. They said that this would give a hint on how the solar system is developed.

LA Times reports that the study would be printed in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. The study was led by the scientists from the University of Cambridge.

The researchers used data from the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA), according to Science Daily. They uncovered very low levels of carbon monoxide gas around the star. The numbers are consistent with the comets in the solar system.

The results will establish the properties of comet clouds around the sun-like stars just after the time of their birth. The star, which is termed as HD 181327, has a mass about 30 percent greater than the sun. It is situated 160 years away in the Painter constellation. It is about 23 million years old. Meanwhile, the solar system is 44.6 billion years old.

Sebastian Marino, a Ph.D. student from Cambridge's Institute of Astronomy and the lead author of the study said that young systems such as this one are very lively, with comets and asteroids slamming into each other and into planets. He further explained that the system has a similar ice composition to the solar system, so it is the good one to study in order to learn what the solar system looked like early in its existence.

The researchers used ALMA to detect the presence of comets and to search for the signature of gas. Marino said that this is the lowest gas concentration ever spotted in a belt of asteroids and comets. They are pushing ALMA to its limits.

NASA described comets as the cosmic snowballs of frozen gases, rock and dust that are about the size of a small town. When a comet's orbit gets closer to the sun, it heats up and discharges dust and gases into a huge glowing head bigger than most planets. The comets are not able to support life. On the other hand, they may have brought organic compounds and water through impact with earth and other bodies in the solar system.


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