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Astronomers discover ancient solar system
Posted: Wed, Jan 28, 2015, 7:36 AM ET (1236 GMT)
Kepler-444 illustration (Univ. of Birmingham) Astronomers announced Tuesday the discovery of a solar system with five planets estimated to be 11 billion years old, the oldest solar system yet found. The planets orbit Kepler-444, a star 117 light-years from the Earth and about 25 percent smaller than the Sun. The star has five planets with sizes estimates to be between that of Mercury and Venus, all orbiting very close to the star. Astronomers calculated the star's age, based on measurements of its oscillations, at 11.2 billion years old, making the star the oldest one known to have planets. It also indicates that planetary systems existed within a few billion years after the Big Bang.
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