Scientists in Chile have discovered a new solar system that is strikingly similar to our own, even down to being the home of what has been dubbed as a "twin" Jupiter that revolves around a sun-like star.
The Brazilian-led team, working at Chile's European Southern Observatory in La Silla on the outskirts of the Atacama Desert, made the discovery using the Harps planet-hunting instrument on a 3.6-meter ESO telescope.
The solar system is located in the Cetus constellation, about 200 light years away, and has spurred speculation that researchers might have unearthed a whole new side to the Milky Way.
The "twin" Jupiter has a similar mass to the one in our solar system and also has a similar orbit around Sun-like star, which astronomers have dubbed HIP 11915.
"[The discovery] was Jupiter's twin planet orbiting a star like the Sun. It's at the same distance that we have to Jupiter and our sun and it's on the same orbit — 10 years and a half more or less. Jupiter's orbit of our sun is 12 years. So this system is very probably a twin (solar) system to our system," astronomer Bruno Dias told the International Business Times.
While little more is known about the planet and its sun, the discovery is expected to shine even more light onto the studies of planetary systems. Recent studies have found that the layout of our planet system with the support of giant gas planets like Jupiter and the behemoth celestial body’s gravitational force is conducive to life.
"Jupiter is a planet that is crucial to understanding planetary formation. So, it is very important if we try to find our twin (solar) systems to understand if the planetary formation that we have in our solar system is something more general or is it more specific to our [solar] system," Dias said, according to Yahoo News.