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Brazilian scientists discover Jupiter-like planet

Updated: 07 16 , 2015 10:26
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RIO DE JANEIRO -- Brazilian scientists have led the discovery of a new Jupiter-like planet that raises the possibility of a second planetary system like ours, Brazil's G1 news website reported Wednesday.

The "new planet has a mass similar to Jupiter and orbits a star with characteristics similar to the sun," G1 said, citing Jorge Melendez, an academic at the University of Sao Paulo who led the team that made the discovery.

Melendez said the discovery was made possible thanks to the High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher, or HARPS, telescope at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in northern Chile.

"More observation is needed to confirm ... the discovery," said Melendez, "but according to the ESO, the star, HIP 11915, is one of the most promising candidates so far to host a planetary system similar to our own.'"

In a "Science Release" titled "Jupiter Twin Discovered Around Solar Twin," the ESO said "the existence of a Jupiter-mass planet in a Jupiter-like orbit around a Sun-like star opens the possibility that the system of planets around this star may be similar to our own Solar System."

According to the most recent theories, said the ESO, "the arrangement of our Solar System, so conducive to life, was made possible by the presence of Jupiter and the gravitational influence this gas giant exerted on the Solar System during its formative years."

Melendez, who also coauthored the paper on the discovery, said "the quest for an Earth 2.0, and for a complete Solar System 2.0, is one of the most exciting endeavors in astronomy. We are thrilled to be part of this cutting edge research."