The nearest star in the night sky has an interesting neighbor, astronomically speaking
Apparently, Alpha Centauri B, the star nearest our sun has a new neighbor. European astronomers have found a planet that is apparently right outside our solar system and is orbiting Alpha Centauri B.
The Alpha Centauri system, which contains this newly discovered exoplanet, is 4.4 light-years away, too far for any human to travel. This new planet is similar in size and mass as us, however ,its orbit makes a year on this planet just three and a half days. Also devoid of life, the planet has a surface of 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit and is covered in molten lava.
However devoid of life, this new discovery sheds hope for other scientists who claim that if one planet was formed outside the Milky Way, other planets must have formed as well. Thus, this may mean other signs of life.
According to Wired Science, an astronomer, Stephane Udry, of the University of Geneva, one of the co-authors of the paper, stated, “Finding in our closest neighbor a one-Earth-mass planet really opens up the prospect for finding planets there in the habitable zone.”
Current technology limits us from being able to travel to this new solar system any time soon, however ,NASA and the European Space Agency are trying to already allocate funds for such expeditions. Some scientists are even thinking about how to send a 25 trillion-mile rocket trip there right now! The significance of life in other planets in close proximity to Alpha Centauri B. is extremely probable and has scientists excited to start expeditions.
As reported by Fox News, one of the lead European astronomers responsible for the find, Geoff Marcy of the University of California Berkeley, praised the significance of this find by saying,”This is an historic discovery. There could well be an Earth-size planet in that Goldilocks sweet spot, not too cold and not too hot, making Alpha Centauri a compelling target to search for intelligent life.”