Astronomers have discovered what appears to be a large asteroid belt around the bright star Vega, as illustrated here at left in brown. CREDIT: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Alien Asteroid Belt Discovery Hints at Hidden Planets

by Tia Ghose, LiveScience Staff Writer
Date: 09 January 2013 Time: 07:30 AM ET

LONG BEACH, Calif. – Astronomers have discovered a giant asteroid belt circling the bright star Vega, a find that may ultimately reveal an entire solar system of planets, scientists say.

Vega is one of the brightest stars in the night sky and located about 25 light-years from Earth. It gained fame as the fictional source of an alien signal in the science fiction novel “Contact” by famed astronomer Carl Sagan, which was adapted into a film starring Jodie Foster.

The star’s newfound asteroid belt layout suggest that Vega is surrounded by an icy outer belt of asteroids, as well as a warm inner space rock belt, researchers said. Their presence is also a clue that Vega could be surrounded by multiple undiscovered planets, they added.

Read more: Asteroid Belt Around Vega Suggests Hidden Planets | Space.

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