Thursday, November 08, 2012

"Earth-like Planets More Widespread in Universe than Previously Believed"

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Earth Like Planets

By The Daily Galaxy
11-6-12

     “In general, we have shown that we are not quite as unique as we once thought. Our solar system closely resembles other observable planetary systems within our galaxy. In this way, our results serve to corroborate other research results which indicate that earth-like planets are more widespread in the universe than previously believed,” says Professor Martin Bizzarro, head of the Centre for Star and Planet Formation at University of Copenhagen.

Some 4.567 billion years ago, our solar system’s planets formed from an expansive disc of gas and dust rotating around the sun. While similar processes have been observed in younger solar systems throughout the Milky Way, the formative stages of our own solar system were believed to have taken twice as long to occur. New research led by the team at the Centre for Star and Planet Formation shows that our solar system is not quite as special as once believed.

Using improved methods of analysis of uranium and lead isotopes, the current study of primitive meteorites has enabled researchers to date the formation of two very different types of materials, so-called calcium-aluminum-rich inclusions (or CAI’s for short) and chondrules, found within the same meteorite. By doing so, the chronology and therefore overall understanding of our solar system’s development has been altered. The study has just been published in the scientific journal, Science. . . .
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