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Planet comparable to the Earth, Orbiting in Habitable Zone! 1st Step Taken!

 
pink cat
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10/18/2012 05:32 PM
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Planet comparable to the Earth, Orbiting in Habitable Zone! 1st Step Taken!
[link to www.eso.org]

"“Our observations extended over more than four years using the HARPS instrument and have revealed a tiny, but real, signal from a planet orbiting Alpha Centauri B every 3.2 days,” says Xavier Dumusque (Geneva Observatory, Switzerland and Centro de Astrofisica da Universidade do Porto, Portugal), lead author of the paper. “It’s an extraordinary discovery and it has pushed our technique to the limit!”

The European team detected the planet by picking up the tiny wobbles in the motion of the star Alpha Centauri B created by the gravitational pull of the orbiting planet [2]. The effect is minute — it causes the star to move back and forth by no more than 51 centimetres per second (1.8 km/hour), about the speed of a baby crawling. This is the highest precision ever achieved using this method.

Alpha Centauri B is very similar to the Sun but slightly smaller and less bright. The newly discovered planet, with a mass of a little more than that of the Earth [3], is orbiting about six million kilometres away from the star, much closer than Mercury is to the Sun in the Solar System. The orbit of the other bright component of the double star, Alpha Centauri A, keeps it hundreds of times further away, but it would still be a very brilliant object in the planet’s skies.

The first exoplanet around a Sun-like star was found by the same team back in 1995 and since then there have been more than 800 confirmed discoveries, but most are much bigger than the Earth, and many are as big as Jupiter [4]. The challenge astronomers now face is to detect and characterise a planet of mass comparable to the Earth that is orbiting in the habitable zone [5] around another star. The first step has now been taken [6]."

Last Edited by pink cat on 10/18/2012 05:58 PM
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Anonymous Coward
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10/18/2012 05:37 PM
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Re: Planet comparable to the Earth, Orbiting in Habitable Zone! 1st Step Taken!
Dude, this was posted 2 days ago
pink cat (OP)

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10/18/2012 05:40 PM
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Re: Planet comparable to the Earth, Orbiting in Habitable Zone! 1st Step Taken!
Dude, this was posted 2 days ago
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 11222564


"The results will appear online in the journal Nature on 17 October 2012."

dude.
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pink cat (OP)

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10/18/2012 05:50 PM
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Re: Planet comparable to the Earth, Orbiting in Habitable Zone! 1st Step Taken!
[link to www.nature.com]

here it is.
published online yesterday.

Published online 17 October 2012

"Exoplanets down to the size of Earth have been found, but not in the habitable zone—that is, at a distance from the parent star at which water, if present, would be liquid. There are planets in the habitable zone of stars cooler than our Sun, but for reasons such as tidal locking and strong stellar activity, they are unlikely to harbour water–carbon life as we know it. The detection of a habitable Earth-mass planet orbiting a star similar to our Sun is extremely difficult, because such a signal is overwhelmed by stellar perturbations. Here we report the detection of an Earth-mass planet orbiting our neighbour star α Centauri B, a member of the closest stellar system to the Sun. The planet has an orbital period of 3.236 days and is about 0.04 astronomical units from the star (one astronomical unit is the Earth–Sun distance)."
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pink cat (OP)

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10/18/2012 05:58 PM
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Re: Planet comparable to the Earth, Orbiting in Habitable Zone! 1st Step Taken!
Planet comparable to the Earth, Orbiting in Habitable Zone! 1st Step Taken!

kind of a cool thing, oui?
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Anonymous Coward
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10/18/2012 06:08 PM
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Re: Planet comparable to the Earth, Orbiting in Habitable Zone! 1st Step Taken!
drex

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10/18/2012 06:21 PM
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Re: Planet comparable to the Earth, Orbiting in Habitable Zone! 1st Step Taken!
bsflag

Not in the habitable zone.

"The newly discovered planet, with a mass of a little more than that of the Earth [3], is orbiting about six million kilometres away from the star, much closer than Mercury is to the Sun in the Solar System."
pink cat (OP)

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10/20/2012 09:46 AM
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Re: Planet comparable to the Earth, Orbiting in Habitable Zone! 1st Step Taken!
yoda
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