Oct 17, 12, 09:33 AM #1
Scientists Find Planet Orbiting Earth's Closest StarSo, Alpha Centauri has a planet.
Discover Magazine Blog Post On Discovery
This is the closest star system to our own. We've been staring at it for years. We've just now found this planet.
Of course, close is relative, and the planet is about 4.3 light years from Earth. And it's completely uninhabitable given that they think it's only a few million miles from the star.
So why is it important? I think the article does a decent job of talking it up, but I'm fascinated that we're only starting to figure out just how to go about hunting for extrasolar planets. The tiny little shifts in the light from distant stars that we're using to track these planets via by way of their gravity is remarkable. With knowing that one is out there that's so close, we'll be able to further refine the methods we use for searching for these planets.
The numbers are too large. An earth-sized planet at just the right distance from it's star and conditions capable of sustaining life is extremely likely. We just have to find it.Advertisement
Oct 17, 12, 09:56 AM #2And with more stars in the universe than grains of sand in all of Earth's beaches that makes for lots of planets in the goldilocks zone.
Oct 17, 12, 11:17 AM #3
There are a couple of things that go into it that determine the possibility of life. The basic thing is though is how close is the planet to the sun based on the sun's relative lifespan. Basically there are times in the star's/sun's lifespan where it is hotter/colder and this changes the relative range of the distance from the star of which planets could have the possibility to sustain life. Just because they are the right distance though doesn't mean it will have life though. Literally everything has to be perfect and happen at the right time to sustain life. Basically to have life on Earth in itself is a miracle.
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There are some also smaller details that I won't get into but its still interesting to know that everything has to be just right for life to happen.
Oct 18, 12, 01:15 PM #4
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Oct 18, 12, 03:15 PM #5