Astronomers have discovered an icy belt of comets circling a young sun-like star, a finding that may provide insights into the evolution of our own solar system.
The star, known as HD 181327, is about 23 million years old and located about 160 light-years away in the Painter constellation.
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The star is surrounded by a dust ring, which is believed to be debris from impacting comets, asteroids and other bodies. The star may have planets in orbit as well, but they cannot be detected with current technology.
Using data from the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) radio telescopes in northern Chile, scientists discovered low concentrations of carbon monoxide gas in HD 181327's dust ring. The amount of gas is similar to what is found in comets in our own solar system.
The gas would have been released during the same collisions that formed HD 181327′s dust ring.
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