Planets detected around Epsilon Eridani

This is exciting for me as  a science fiction fan and as someone interested in space science in general.

Epsilon Eridani is a star a bit smaller than our own Sun – and quite young – only 800 million years old, located about 10.5 light years away.  Recently the Spitzer Telescope has detected a double asteroid belt around the star. The inner belt is located at a distance similar to the asteroid belt in our own solar system. Furthermore what looks like a cometary ring similar to the Kuyper Belt and indications of a planet at a distance similar to Jupiter’s. The Epsilon Eridani system looks more and more like our own solar system.

For more information take a look at these websites :

From the Spitzer Telescope site

From Discover Magazine

In the 1960’s I remember the scientific programs on the radio talking about SETI (Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence) and mentioning this star as a likely candidate. At the time the young age of the system was not known, but it gave rise to the use of many science fiction writers using it as a home for intelligence.

In “Star Trek” the Mr. Spock’s home world Vulcan is located in the Epsilon Eridani system. and in “Babylon 5” the space station is in orbit around a planet in the same system.

Of course the star is featured in many other science fiction stories, too many to mention here.

Interesting stuff…

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