Midnight In The Desert — Alpha Centauri

What is Alpha Centauri hiding? Searches for Earth-like planets ramp up around our nearest stellar neighbor

Posted by K R on

What is Alpha Centauri hiding? Searches for Earth-like planets ramp up around our nearest stellar neighbor

Alpha Centauri, a three-star system just 4 light-years away that is the sun's nearest neighbor, ought to be a great place to look for Earth-like planets. But last week, at a meeting of the European Astronomical Society (EAS) here, astronomers lamented the way the system has thwarted discovery efforts so far—and announced new efforts to probe it. "It's very likely that there are planets," says Pierre Kervella of the Paris Observatory in Meudon, France, but the nature and positions of the stars complicate the search. "It's a little frustrating for planet searchers." The system's two sunlike stars, Alpha Centauri A...

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Is Alpha Centauri The Best Place To Look For Aliens?

Posted by K R on

Is Alpha Centauri The Best Place To Look For Aliens?

For generations, human beings have fantasized about the possibility of finding extra-terrestrial life. And with our ongoing research efforts to discover new and exciting extrasolar planets (aka. exoplanets) in distant star systems, the possibility of actually visiting one of these worlds has received a real shot in the arm. Unfortunately, given the astronomical distances involved, not to mention the cost of mounting an expedition, doing so presents numerous significant challenges. However, Russian billionaire Yuri Milner and the Breakthrough Foundation – an international organization committed to exploration and scientific research – is determined to mount an interstellar mission to Alpha Centauri,...

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