Nearby star may have its own asteroid belt | Science News

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Nearby star may have its own asteroid belt

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11:11am, June 13, 2001

Observations of warm dust swaddling a young, nearby star suggest that astronomers have found the first asteroid belt outside the solar system. And where there are asteroids, there could be planets.

Several features of the dust surrounding the star Zeta Leporis indicate that the particles were generated by a massive collection of asteroids smashing into each other, says Christine H. Chen of the University of California, Los Angeles.

The material's temperature, mass, and proximity to the youthful star are all indicators that "the system we observed around Zeta Leporis is similar to what we think occurred in the early years [of the solar system] when planets and asteroids were created," says study collaborator Michael Jura of UC

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