A newly detected disk around the sun could narrow down our search for other star systems that might have planets orbiting around them.

Astronomers with the European Space Agency say they?ve found the first direct evidence of the bright dust ring, which is located beyond the orbit of Saturn. Young stars are known to have thick bands of dust, gas and debris. This dust gradually disappears into deep space, so if an older star such as the sun still has a dusty ring, some hidden source must be replenishing it. Replenishing the ring around the sun takes 50 tons of dust each second.

?The dust has to come from somewhere,? Malcolm Fridlund says. ?The only explanation is that the star has planets, comets, asteroids or other bodies that collide and generate the dust.? This finding could help scientists search for planets around other stars in the galaxy.

?If we see a similar dust ring around a mature star like the sun, we?ll know it must have asteroids or comets,? says Markus Landgraf. ?If we see gaps in the dust ring, it will probably have planets that are sweeping away the dust as they orbit.?

To learn more about the mysteries of the sun, read ?The 23rd Cycle? by Sten Odenwald,click here.

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