Overview of the Hyades star cluster (ground-based image)
This image shows the Hyades star cluster, the nearest cluster to us. The Hyades cluster is very well studied due to its location, but previous searches for planets have produced only one. A new study led by Jay Farihi of the University of Cambridge, UK, has now found the atmospheres of two burnt-out stars in this cluster - known as white dwarfs - to be "polluted" by rocky debris circling the star.
Seeing evidence of asteroids points to the possibility of Earth-sized planets in the same system, as asteroids are the building blocks of major planets. Planet-forming processes are inefficient, and spawn many times more small bodies than large bodies - but once rocky embryos the size of asteroids are built, planets are sure to follow.