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Where are the closest alien planets ?

Posted on Saturday, 28 December, 2013 | Comment icon 12 comments

How close is the nearest exoplanet ? Image Credit: NASA
Astronomers believe that there could be an exoplanet orbiting a nearby pair of brown dwarf stars.
Over the last few years scientists have identified hundreds of extrasolar planets orbiting distant solar systems, a feat that until recently would have seemed impossible. But as most of these planets are located great distances away, have we been able to find any that are close enough to the Earth so that we may one day be able to send a spacecraft there to investigate ?

One such candidate is a planet thought to be orbiting two brown dwarf stars that were themselves only recently discovered. At a distance of 6.6 light years from the Earth, the planet is so close that television and radio signals from as recent as 2006 will already be arriving there.

The runaway winner however has got to be our nearest neighbor, Alpha Centauri. At a distance of just 4.4 light years, this star system is home to an Earth-sized world known as Alpha Centauri Bb, the closest known extrasolar planet ever discovered.

Source: NBC News | Comments (12)

Tags: Brown Dwarf, Extrasolar Planet

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #3 Posted by Xynoplas on 29 December, 2013, 1:14
I believe that the closest planet outside of the solar system is in orbit around Alpha Centauri, a star located four light years away. I know a lot about space. You cheated and read the article.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Likely Guy on 29 December, 2013, 3:45
"One day", is a long ways away. Is it probable? Is it possible? Sure, one day.
Comment icon #5 Posted by qxcontinuum on 29 December, 2013, 6:37
Some are saying alpha centauri might even be inhabited
Comment icon #6 Posted by WhispersInTheAttic on 29 December, 2013, 6:44
Some are saying alpha centauri might even be inhabited How far away is alpha centauri from earth?
Comment icon #7 Posted by Likely Guy on 29 December, 2013, 6:55
How far away is alpha centauri from earth? Over four light years. @qxcontinium; some people say a lot of things.
Comment icon #8 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 29 December, 2013, 11:24
Over four light years. To put that in context that is 25,277,549,200,000 miles (40,680,272,100,000 km) or about 106 BILLION times further away than the moon.
Comment icon #9 Posted by toast on 29 December, 2013, 11:44
I know a lot about space.
Comment icon #10 Posted by toast on 29 December, 2013, 11:49
How far away is alpha centauri from earth? You can read all here published articles for free.
Comment icon #11 Posted by Adirondack-Bob on 4 January, 2014, 3:41
I never tire of trying to visualize the size of our universe. The size of our solar system is big enough and then the size of our galaxy is enough to give you a migraine. We can't even travel to the edge of it yet. But, try to visualize, or appreciate, the distances between galaxies and it can blow your mind. Talk about feeling insignificant.
Comment icon #12 Posted by Heroic Bishop on 6 January, 2014, 10:20
I find it mind-boggling when you look at the statistics regarding the amount of planets there are out there, and just in our galaxy! I find it even more mind boggling when people say that they are all uninhabited and aliens do not exist....I am not talking about visitors coming to Earth in cliche flying saucers etc, I mean they do not exist period! Or they apply conventional wisdom and say that 'oh that planet has a methane atmosphere life cannot exist there', our life maybe, but who elected humans as the race that has knowledge of every single facet of possible evolution?....Christ we can't e... [More]

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