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Scientists Find Ring of Dust That Resembles the Solar System

July 09, 1998

Astronomers have discovered a ring of dust around a nearby star that could be similar to the solar system and may contain a planet. The ring around Epsilon Eridani is "strikingly similar" to the inner comet zone in the solar system and shows an intriguing bright region that may be particles trapped around a young planet, astronomer Jane Greaves of the Joint Astronomy Center in Hawaii told a meeting in Santa Barbara on Wednesday. Epsilon Eridani is in the constellation of Eridanus ("the river") and is among the 10 closest star systems to the Earth.

UCLA astronomer Benjamin Zuckerman said: "This is a star system that quite resembles our solar system; it's one thing to suspect that another such system exists, but another to actually see it. . . . The implication is that if there is one system similar to ours at such a close star, presumably there are many others."

Compiled by Times medical writer Thomas H. Maugh II

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