An international team of astronomers has discovered an “unusual” star system that is comprised of the oldest known star hosting planets, 11.2 billion years old. To compare, the Big Bang is considered to have happened 13.8 billion years ago.
The discovery of an ancient star located 117 light-years from Earth, was based on observations made by NASA’s Kepler satellite, and was announced on Tuesday in the Astrophysical Journal by scientists from Europe, Australia and the US.
The oldest star to have been found so far hosting planets slightly smaller than the Earth, Kepler-444 has five planets orbiting it. Their sizes vary between those of Mercury and Venus, and they orbit their parent star in less than 10 days, at less than one-tenth Earth’s distance from the sun. The lack of liquid water and high levels of radiation make them uninhabitable, scientists revealed.