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Near Neighbor

20 Oct 2012, 00:49 UTC
Near Neighbor Peter Lake
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Image Credit: (c) Peter Lake - Southern Cross and Pointers - SSO, Cannon 550D SLR One of the most prominent stars is the southern hemisphere made headlines this week as a team of astronomers, using the ESO Harps Instrument on the 3.6m La Silla observatory in Chile, announced the discovery of an earth sized planet around our closest star. “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!”Image Credit: ESO/L. Calçada/Nick Risinger (skysurvey.org) Much of the recent news of Extrasolar planet discovery has centered around the Kepler Space Telescope mission, only this week Chris Lintott's & Meg Schwab's team at Planethunters.org also announced the first citizen science discovery of a planet in a 4 star system....come to think of it that has a nice ring to it. ;-) Back south though, at Siding Spring Observatory which has an exceptional dark southern horizon, Alpha Centauri never sets, ...

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