Space & Astronomy
Earth-like worlds may exist in nearby system
By T.K. Randall
March 28, 2015 · 36 comments
Alpha Centauri is the nearest star system to our own. Image Credit: NASA
There could be two potentially habitable planets in a binary star system just 4.3 light years away.
In cosmological terms Alpha Centauri is right on our doorstep, a binary star system that could one day become the destination of the first ever interstellar space mission.
Now astronomers believe that they have identified an even more tempting reason for us to go there in the form of what could be a pair of Earth-like planets in orbit around the smaller of the two stars, Alpha Centauri B.
While these two distant worlds are probably too hot to support life themselves, their presence could indicate that there are more planets in the Alpha Centauri system just waiting to be found.
"If you see one planet, the chance is there are other planets in the system," said Brice-Oliver Demory of the University of Cambridge.
To date more than 2,000 planets have been detected in orbit around distant star systems and more are being found all the time. Once the next generation of planet hunting telescopes are up and running we may even be able to confirm the existence of other worlds that are much like our own.
Perhaps one day we may even be able to go and visit them.
Source: New Scientist
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