NASA has planned to build a Starshade to look for Alien Planets. Starshade exoplanet-hunting missions may be technologically daunting.
There are three closest stars to Earth which are in the Alpha Centauri system. The two main stars are Alpha Centauri A and Alpha Centauri B, which form a binary pair. They are an average of 4.3 light-years from Earth. The third star is Proxima Centauri which is about 4.22 light-years from Earth and is the closest star other than the sun.
Alpha Centauri is the closest star system and closest planetary system to the Solar System at 4.37 light-years (1.34 pc) from the Sun. It is a triple star system, consisting of three stars: α Centauri A (officially Rigil Kentaurus), α Centauri B (officially Toliman), and α Centauri C (officially Proxima Centauri).
Alpha Centauri A and B orbit a common center of gravity every 80 years. One of the important facts about the closest stars is that; the average distance between them is about 23 astronomical units (AU) — a little more than the distance between the sun and Uranus. Proxima Centauri is about one-fifth of a light-year or 13,000 AUs from the two other stars.
According to space.com “Astronomers announced in August 2016 that they had detected an Earth-size planet orbiting Proxima Centauri. The newfound world, known as Proxima b, is about 1.3 times more massive than Earth, which suggests that the exoplanet is a rocky world, researchers said”.
“The planet is also in the star’s habitable zone, that just-right range of distances where liquid water can exist. Proxima b lies just 4.7 million miles (7.5 million kilometers) from its host star and completes one orbit every 11.2 Earth-days. As a result, it’s likely that the exoplanet is tidally locked, meaning it always shows the same face to its host star, just as the moon shows only one face (the near side) to Earth”.
Source: Text; space.com
Image credit; www.nasa.gov, asterisk.apod.com
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