Data from the venerable Kepler mission has uncovered the oldest know planets that we have found to date.
Kepler-444 is 11.2 billion years old and has five Earth-sized planets in orbit.
The five planets are a little smaller than Earth.
Additionally, they are way too close to their sun (about 1/10 the distance, or about 9 million miles, of the Earth-Sun orbit). This makes it unlikely that they could hold life as we know it. But, we don’t have a very good definition of what life is.
But the star and its planets is fairly amazing due to the age. Only 117 light years from Earth, Kepler-444 is five times older than our solar system, so it formed very shortly after the big bang. The age is measured using a technique called asteroseismology, which measures the oscillations of a star caused by sound waves trapped within it. These sound waves cause small pulses in the star’s brightness, which are analyzed to measure its diameter, mass and age.
– Ex astris, scientia –
I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine. As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +, or by email.